It looks like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will try a fresh face in the middle of the defence Thursday night.
Second-year linebacker Henoc Muamba has been getting most the reps at the middle linebacker spot in practice this week, a good indication that he will draw the starting assignment when the last-place Bombers (1-5) host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-3) at Canad Inns Stadium (7 p.m.).
Muamba would move ahead over veteran Pierre-Luc Labbe on the depth chart. Labbe has seen most of the minutes at middle linebacker since the start of the season, but with the quick and highly explosive Ticats offence coming to town, the club appears ready to make a change.
"He’s a good athlete," head coach Paul LaPolice said of Muamba after practice Monday. "He’ll have good opportunities to make a play on that tailback, because that tailback is fast. They’re a fast football team."
LaPolice said the club hasn’t made an official decision on the middle linebacker position, but did say there’s a "good chance" Muamba – the top pick in the 2011 draft – will get the call.
As for the rest of the linebacker group will remain status quo.
Marcellus Bowman will occupy one of the spots, with Jonathan Hefney filling in on the other side. Starter Brandon Stewart will miss his fourth straight game with a leg injury. Stewart is hopeful he can return next week.
Other Bombers news from practice Monday:
- Quarterback Buck Pierce was not on the field, a bit of a surprise considering the strides he’s made with his foot injury the last two weeks. The club said he underwent treatment in the morning and was going to be too sore to participate in the two-hour session.
- Jordan Taormina, and not Shannon Boatman, was back with the No. 1 offence at the right tackle position. LaPolice downplayed the sighting by reporters, suggesting the two are simply in a rotation.
- The club welcomed back running back Chad Simpson to the practice field once again. Simpson, who hasn't practised much as he continues to get back from a foot injury, stands to do well against the Hamilton defence: The Tabbies are averaging a league-worst 145 rushing yards against per game this season.