Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke is ready to put a heavy load on quarterback Buck Pierce, who is getting his first start since he was injured July 13. But Burke was quick to point out the rest of the team must share the burden.
With Pierce back in the lineup after missing eight games, the Bombers (2-9) will look to Pierce to lead the offence to the end zone for the first time in 13 quarters against the Tiger-Cats (4-7) tonight at Canad Inns Stadium.
"The thing I told the offence was Buck is going to be back, that's really positive, we're all happy with that, it instills some confidence in the offence. But we all have to do our jobs," Burke said after Thursday's walk-through at Canad Inns Stadium. "He can't win the game if he's lying on his back on the turf. He can't win the game if he's got to run for his life all the time. We can't win the game if he throws the ball to us and we drop the ball. We've got to catch it, we've got to turn it up-field and we can't turn it over. Same thing with the running backs."
WATCHING HIS DIET
HAMILTON receiver Chris Williams is eating up yards and at least one record this season, but he might want to watch what else he eats while in Winnipeg.
Williams is second in the CFL (to Toronto's Chad Owens) in combined yards with 1,918 and his six punt return/missed field goal return touchdowns are a single-season CFL record. He's tied the CFL record for punt return touchdowns with five.
Praising Williams as "a great guy," Bombers head coach Burke joked there may be only one way to stop Williams today.
"He is really fast and really quick. I don't know, if we maybe poison his food tonight or something like that," Burke said, with a smile. He added ball placement and good coverage lanes by the cover teams are keys to stopping the dynamic Williams.
Williams leads the CFL in touchdowns (12), in punt returns (746 yards on 46 returns and five TDs) and missed field goal returns (256 yards on five returns and one TD). He is third overall in pass receiving with 900 yards on 55 receptions.
"I caught a little whiff of that (from Twitter) as we got off the plane, it's just funny," said the 5-9, 155-pound Williams, who was the CFL's most outstanding rookie in 2011. "I don't know, man, I'm going to have to make sure I take a couple guys with me (to eat). Maybe get Peter (offensive lineman Dyakowski) to test it out for me. Those big guys, they'll test it out and make sure it's safe."
MAKE IT TOUGH ON BUCK
THE Hamilton Tiger-Cats defence isn't planning any special treatment for Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce, playing for the first time in eight games, except to haul away a Ticats' win from Canad Inns Stadium.
The Bombers are on a four-game losing streak while the Ticats have won just one of their last six games.
"I'll shake his hand before the game. Buck and I go way back to B.C. and it's good to see him back out there, I'm always rooting for him and want to see him do well. But when we're opponents, not so much," said Tiger-Cats linebacker Jamall Johnson, who was with the B.C. Lions in 2005-2008 when Pierce was also with B.C.
"We've had a good week at practice behind us and we'll try to go on the field and confuse him when he's back there, get some pressure on him and get some hits when they're available."
-- Ashley Prest