December 15, 2018

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Bombers hope to fare better in Ticats rematch

Linebacker Adam Bighill knows Hamilton will switch up its gameplan to try to catch the Bombers off guard. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)</p></p>

Linebacker Adam Bighill knows Hamilton will switch up its gameplan to try to catch the Bombers off guard. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli ripped apart the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defence on June 29, completing 31 of 41 passes for 369 yards and one touchdown en route to a convincing 31-17 win.

Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill hopes Friday’s rematch at Investors Group Field doesn’t look anything like the original. That day, the Ticats employed extra blockers to help keep Masoli upright.

Does Bighill expect more of the same maximum protection schemes?

“It’s interesting, they’ve had some personnel changes with a few trades (including the exit of O-lineman Tony Washington and Landon Rice to Montreal in the Johnny Manziel deal) that they’ve done,” Bighill said. “On film, as of recently, they haven’t utilised that package as much. But obviously, when they played us, they did a few things that they hadn’t showed much on film, too.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli ripped apart the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defence on June 29, completing 31 of 41 passes for 369 yards and one touchdown en route to a convincing 31-17 win.

Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill hopes Friday’s rematch at Investors Group Field doesn’t look anything like the original. That day, the Ticats employed extra blockers to help keep Masoli upright.

Does Bighill expect more of the same maximum protection schemes?

"It’s interesting, they’ve had some personnel changes with a few trades (including the exit of O-lineman Tony Washington and Landon Rice to Montreal in the Johnny Manziel deal) that they’ve done," Bighill said. "On film, as of recently, they haven’t utilised that package as much. But obviously, when they played us, they did a few things that they hadn’t showed much on film, too.

"So that’s the coaching game plan, trying to show guys different looks and catch people off guard a bit. At this point, we’re ready to play everything because of their versatility in what they try to do. They definitely make you practise a few different looks."

Masoli had plenty of time to throw the ball, but Hamilton receivers were also afforded big cushions by Winnipeg defenders.

"We have to be tighter and contest more throws," Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea said. "We were off the man and off the ball too far, too many times. I think that was the biggest issue. But take nothing away from them, they have a very strong offence and a strong football team in all three phases."

Bighill admitted Masoli, whose 2,214 passing yards are second in the CFL behind only the Edmonton Eskimos’ Mike Reilly, is now in elite company when it comes to the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

"He can escape the pocket real well, he does a great job of buying more time, keeping his eyes downfield and throwing the ball and letting his receivers make plays," Bighill said. "That’s kind of that next level of being a quarterback in the CFL. When you have that, it opens up a whole new avenue — not only is this guy good, he’s great."

Winnipeg defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat believes a better pass rush would do wonders, too.

"What we’ve gotta do is rush, whether they have seven guys (blocking) or whatever," said Jeffcoat, who has four sacks after seven games following a seven-sack output during his rookie season in 2017. "We have to rush and be relentless. That’s all we can control; we’ve gotta get back there and get pressure."

CIRCLE THAT DATE: Winnipeg rookie receiver Daniel Petermann had 50 family members and friends in the stands at Tim Hortons Field when he made his first trip to Hamilton as a pro on June 29.

Petermann, a McMaster University grad who hails from nearby Stoney Creek, Ont., is also looking forward to Friday’s rematch.

"It was special in Hamilton because I had a lot of family there," Petermann said. "A lot of people wanted to come out for that one. It’s still special playing Hamilton because those are pretty much the only games I went to. So it’s cool playing them."

NOTEWORTHY: TSN reported Tuesday that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have agreed to contract terms with American defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy, cut loose by the Ottawa Redblacks Monday. The former B.C. Lion, who had 29 tackles and one interception in seven games, was one of the top free agents available in the off-season.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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