IT'S hardly rocket science, but Tim Burke has an idea or two as to how to keep Buck Pierce healthy and good to go for the home opener.
Namely, keep Buck Pierce healthy and good to go through the preseason.
And so when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers play host to the Toronto Argonauts in Wednesday night's exhibition game at Investors Group Field, how long Pierce is behind centre will depend, to some degree, on what the defending Grey Cup champs throw at him defensively.
"I don't know how long he'll play, it could be a couple series," said Burke. "If Toronto decides they want to blitz on every snap, then we're going to take him out right away. This early in the season, protection usually lags behind defences.
"If (the Argos) were to decide to come in here and start blitzing then you'll see a really fast exit for Buck. If they don't, then he'll play at least a couple of series, maybe a quarter."
The Bomber plan calls for the other three pivots -- Justin Goltz, Max Hall and Chase Clement -- to get at least one quarter of work. Burke wants to see the trio tested in different situations in different parts of the games, including the chance to run a two-minute drill near the end of the first half or at the end of the fourth quarter. He also stressed what order they appear will not necessarily represent where they are on the QB depth chart.
Now, part of the challenge for Pierce, Burke and offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton is to find the balance between getting their No. 1 pivot enough work in the preseason and giving the others a legitimate shot to earn a job and get ready for the real games.
"It's been a good camp," said Pierce. "I'm helping those guys get ready now, giving them as many reps as they can, because as it goes on, they'll get fewer and fewer. Between the three of them, I think they maybe have 10 plays total in the CFL. They have to get the reps and get ready to go."
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Winnipeg Rifles receiver Brett Carter continues to open eyes at training camp -- Monday he latched onto a pass thrown behind him with one hand and pulled it in -- and the 20-year-old University of Winnipeg student will suit up Wednesday after signing a contract.
"He's earned the right to go out there and play," said Burke. "He's done a nice job. You see his teammates pulling for him. All of a sudden it's 'Hey, this guy is better than we thought he'd be.' A lot of guys probably thought, 'Ah, this is just a courtesy thing.' But he's gone out there and done a good job and caught some really tough balls and learned the offence. It's not easy learning a professional offence. I think he's got the respect of all of his teammates."
QUOTABLE: "I don't believe in hazing rookies. You've heard all those stories about all the rookies who come in, they've got to sing and dance and tell jokes and be the butt of everything -- I don't believe in that. When they're here, they're Bombers, just like everybody else." -- Burke.
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