Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kelly wasn't bad, either

Receiver the big beneficiary of QB's debut

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Lost a bit amid all the attention heaped on QB Drew Willy's eye-popping performance Thursday night in a 45-21 Winnipeg Blue Bombers victory over the Toronto Argonauts at Investors Group Field was the career night posted by his favourite target, wide receiver Aaron Kelly.

Kelly was Winnipeg's leading receiver, finishing the night with five catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including an absolute masterpiece on the first TD in which Kelly wrestled the ball away from a defender.

All of which is pretty good for the second-year Bomber, who was on the bubble in training camp this year and didn't win a starting job until the final week as the Bombers coaching staff wrestled with which way to go with their fifth receiver.

"I feel like I've got a good opportunity here," Kelly said Thursday night. "I worked hard to win a starting spot and just wanted to come out and start fast and help the team win."

Kelly was asked if he felt his team sent a message around the league with Thursday's win. "I think so. I don't think anyone really expected a lot from us. We got a new quarterback, new coach, new co-ordinators -- first real full season here. So a lot of times it takes awhile for that to come together. But we've been working hard and we were ready for this game."

-- -- --

Willy was asked Thursday night whether his big performance against the Argos lays to rest any lingering questions about whether he's ready to make the transition this season from a backup to a starter in the CFL.

"I'm just taking it as one game and I will be ready to go (next) Thursday. I will be prepping (Friday) for Ottawa. Other than that, I know I can play. I've been around a ton of guys and they all talked to me and they knew I was ready.

"I just talked to Darian (Durant) right after and he was very proud. Coach (Khari) Jones -- I mean it's definitely fun to be a part of this team. I'm really looking forward to playing in front of these fans. It was just a fun night to be a part of."

Willy, of course studied under Durant and Jones the last two seasons as the backup QB for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Bombers next game is Thursday at Investors Group Field against the expansion Redblacks.

-- -- --

Veteran Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January was asked what the back of his head saw of Willy's performance on Thursday.

"I didn't see him at all and didn't feel him -- so that's good," said January. "He was getting the ball out on time; he was commanding the huddle very well; he didn't get too high, he didn't get too down; he showed maturity beyond his years.

"And that's a good sign for us moving forward."

-- -- --

Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea briefly played security guard Thursday night when a fan ran on to the field.

With the fan racing down the Bombers sideline, O'Shea stepped into his path and angled him toward the Bombers bench, where he quickly surrendered to a couple of security guards.

O'Shea, a former middle linebacker, was asked how close he came to planting the trespasser.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to answer that question," O'Shea replied.

"I don't know what I've got left in me. I might have embarassed myself."

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2014 C4

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