Tomorrow night, as Bombers pivot Drew Willy looks out onto a sea of defensive green, he won't be thinking about the threads that still tie him to his old team.
Well, maybe a little, as he peruses familiar Saskatchewan faces and contemplates how to pick them apart. "I think I pretty much know everyone on their defence," he said. "I've just been doing everything I can film-wise, locking into my reads, making sure I'm ready to go. For me, obviously I know the guys but it's really just another game. Once we get started, it will just seem like any other game."
So like any other game, he won't be thinking about his 2013 Grey Cup ring, the one he won in Roughrider colours when he was mostly tapped to do short-yardage plays. He won't be thinking about how veteran Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant is in his phone's contact list, a friendship that started at a mini-camp in Florida and blossomed over the next two seasons. They ate together, talked football together, talked about their lives.
They haven't spoken this week, though. "We'll probably just (have a) quick handshake before the game, and that'll be it, probably," Willy said today, after the Bombers walked through their game plan at Investors Group Field. All business, as one might expect from the titular mayor of Willypeg.
That designation is the natural result of fan euphoria over the 5-1 record, over Willy's status as reigning CFL offensive player of the week, over some of the wicked drives he's led. "Obviously, I hear it," he laughed, of the Willypeg name. "I think my family and friends have a better time with it than I do. It's an honour, I guess you could say, but I just want to do everything I can to help this team win... if we keep winning, everyone will be happy."
In other notes: the Bombers' 2014 first-round draft pick Matthias Goossen is slated to get his first pro start on Thursday night, filling in at right guard for injured Patrick Neufeld. Though the Bombers prefer Goossen at centre, head coach Mike O'Shea said they feel comfortable sliding him down the row.
Any words of advice the coach has for a young player, at his first pro start? "No," O'Shea said. "Just battle. I don't tell him anything he doesn't already know. It's interesting, typically, rookie... means different things for different people. But once they're playing for you, I don't think of them as rookies anymore. They've got to grow up pretty quick."