Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue Bomber Note Book

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The new No. 40

a lot like the old

IT didn't take long for someone to point out to Brandon Akpunku that the number 40 he is wearing in Blue Bombers training camp this week has quite a history.

"I've been hearing a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Somebody's going to have to give me the whole picture," said Akpunku, 22, a rookie out of North Texas.

"All I know for sure is that it was a very special guy who wore this number."

He was special, all right. Like the man who last wore the number 40 -- 2011 CFL sack leader Odell Willis -- Akpunku is also a defensive end.

But he's a bit of an undersized one -- he's listed at 6-1, 240. The 6-1 seems generous, but then Willis wasn't the biggest defensive end around either.

And like Willis, what Akpunku lacks in size, he certainly makes up for with speed and aggression, both of which were on display in sideline drills Tuesday as he repeatedly crushed a course of dummy blockers.

It would be a bit of a long shot for Akpunku to make the team, but he says he's used to overcoming long odds at a position built for men much larger than himself.

"I've got a big heart, a lot of speed and just a lot of determination," said Akpunku. "I started out as a linebacker, but in my sophomore year, they stuck me in the position and told me to just put my hand down and run. I had to get used to the roughness and toughness and ganging and banging, but it kind of became a home for me."

FIELD NOTES... LaPolice said he was particularly impressed with the play of QB Buck Pierce on Tuesday, but also cited WR Kito Poblah, LB Henoc Muamba and DB Dan West as worthy of commendation... The club announced OL Sam Nemis quit the team Tuesday to take a new job... Practising under sweltering heat, the Bombers had two large air conditioners delivered to the sideline, but few players actually used them. They might be more popular today, when temperatures are expected to hit 33 C, although the Bombers get a mid-week break, with a brief one-hour practice scheduled for today... LB Marcellus Bowman missed the second half of practice with a lower-leg injury... Injured defensive end Jason Vega (leg), who sat out most of practice Monday, sat out again Tuesday. DB Brandon Stewart (ankle) was back practising for the first half, but sat out the second half again... Running back Carl Volny, still recovering from a knee injury that finished his season early last year, and S Brady Browne (hamstring) didn't have equipment on but did some light running.

Switching sides

Head coach Paul LaPolice said a switch at the offensive tackle positions in training camp this season -- Andre Douglas and Glenn January have switched sides, with January now taking over the more critical left blind-side position -- is likely permanent. "(January) has the most experience playing tackle and he was a CFL all-star last year," said LaPolice, "so we felt we could move Douglas over to right and Glenn over to the left side to be our most able tackle."

Reid released again

Former Bombers running back -- and 2010 CFL leading rusher -- Fred Reid is out of work again.

Reid, whom the Bombers released over the winter after he blew out his knee midway through 2011, had caught on this spring with the Alouettes, but word out of Montreal on Tuesday was that Reid had been released.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2012 C3

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