Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue's mental toughness will get test

Only one practice between games

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Mike O'Shea is about to get a real good read on the mental toughness of his Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Bombers played Thursday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and travel to Toronto today to face the Argonauts Tuesday night.

That means Sunday was the team's only full practice in advance of the game in Toronto. They are flying today and will not be on the field at all.

Asked if he was satisfied with what they accomplished in their one practice in preparation for the game, the head coach grinned.

"Absolutely. It's just how we planned," he said.

"As I explained to them at the start of the week, a day ago, the point is they have to sharpen their focus and they have to be able to take in the information. I have no problem these guys are going to be able to do that."

The Bombers spoke repeatedly after Sunday's practice of putting the Rider loss in the rear-view mirror and no player has to take that approach more than quarterback Drew Willy.

Willy took the blame for the Rider loss, particularly his interception with less than three minutes left that was the difference maker.

"It's definitely let go," he said. "You learn from your mistakes. Next time I'm in that situation I just have to be better with my read and just go from there. You learn from your mistakes and move on.

"You've just got to keep being decisive out there and have that confidence in yourself. We did some good things, obviously. We threw for 300 yards... but just can't make a costly mistake like that.

"You watch the film, talk to coach (offensive co-ordinator, Marcel) Bellefeuille to get his take on the game," he added. "Right after, especially in a short week, you have to move on pretty quickly."

MORE CHANGES: The Bombers will welcome back Pat Neufeld to the starting lineup as he'll slide back into his right guard spot between centre Steve Morley and tackle Cordaro Howard.

Rookie Matthias Goossen had stepped in for Neufeld in the loss to Saskatchewan.

"Patty's back up," said O'Shea. "(The switch) obviously brings more experience. With Matthias there was a play or two he wishes he had back, but we certainly like how he's getting better and how he's learning. Certainly the experience of being in there helps him out tremendously. He's an aggressive young man so, it's good. But Patty's experience will help."

Receiver Nick Moore did take some turns with the No. 1 offence on Sunday, but will be held out until the club returns home to face the Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 22.

"I'm going to give Nick Moore another week," said O'Shea. "Nick Moore said he's ready to play and he looks very, very good. But I'm going to give him one more week so that he looks great."

Rookie Derek Jones took some reps in the outside linebacker spot held by Teague Sherman, who was dinged in the Saskatchewan game.

But O'Shea won't confirm his roster until today.

"I still have a couple of questions about the roster myself that I'll solve when I can watch the (practice) tape," said O'Shea. "(Jones) played very well, It's a matter of experience for him, but he's been very, very good for us not only on special teams but when he's gotten in on defence. He's a fun guy to watch. He's very eager to play."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2014 C4

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