GUELPH, ONT. -- Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke was asked Friday if there was any particular four-letter word he chose to use when he watched on TV as the Montreal Alouettes won a stunner over the B.C. Lions Thursday on a last-minute Hail-Mary pass.
"Darn," Burke laughed. "That's the PG version."
A 39-38 come-from-behind Alouettes victory -- set up by a 57-yard reception in the dying seconds that set up a game-winning Sean Whyte field goal as time expired -- was just the latest in a seemingly endless list of things that have gone wrong for Burke and the Bombers lately.
The victory improved Montreal to 3-5, which puts them two wins up on Winnipeg in the East Division.
Winnipeg's opponent here today at Alumni Stadium -- the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- are also two wins up on the Bombers at 3-4, all of which makes today's game even more desperate for the 1-6 Bombers.
"You don't want to fall too far behind anybody. We're at a point where we definitely need to win some games," said Burke.
HALL PILING UP SACKS
The sack exploits of Bombers defensive end Alex Hall have gone a little unnoticed, largely because of the utter turmoil of the team that surrounds him.
But credit where it is due -- Hall continues to lead the CFL with nine sacks, has at least one sack in four of his last five games and at his current pace would finish the season with 23, which would be the most in the league since current NFLer Cameron Wake recorded that many in 2008 for the B.C. Lions.
Hall says it's small consolation in a 1-6 season. "If I could play every position, I would," Hall said. "But it is what it is."
Hall -- who is a free agent at the end of this season -- played bits of three seasons in the NFL from 2008-10 and retains NFL aspirations. But for the moment, he finds himself in the frustrating position of achieving personal goals while his team fails spectacularly to reach its own. "That's the problem," he says. "It's important to set personal goals, but this is a team sport at the end of the day."
Today's game at Alumni Field comes with an unusually early kickoff time -- 1 p.m. local time.
That means players much more accustomed to lying around all day waiting for the evening games that are by far the most common type in the CFL will have some dramatic schedule adjustments today.
The buses to the stadium today for both teams will leave at 9:30 a.m. and Ticats head coach Kent Austin said Friday he has instructed his players on what he expects when they show up for work this morning.
"What we've told our players is to be aware of the fact that you're not used to that time and to not be sleepy and to not wake up in a fog. Get yourself up, get yourself going, get a cold shower and get ready to play."
Bombers cornerback Jovon Johnson said the adjustment shouldn't be too dramatic, particularly for players who are products of the early afternoon games that are a staple of U.S. college programs. "It's a college atmosphere," said Johnson. "That's just the way the day goes and what most of us are accustomed to anyway."