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This article was published 8/9/2016 (1834 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Preparing for the same team heading into the back half of a home-and-home series comes with its own set of challenges. It can be a bit of a guessing game.
"The hard part is that you have less film, obviously. You’re watching your own stuff and you’ve kind of already game-planned for what you’ve seen before," Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice said after practice Thursday as his team prepares for a rematch against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field.
"You’re trying to figure out if they’re going to change up what they did and then look at yourself and self-scout some things and see what wrinkles you can change up."
LaPolice said it’s nice to play the same team in consecutive games — there’s less preparation involved — but on the flip side of that coin, there’s less information.
"Certainly, I think every good team has tendencies. So if you’re good at something, you’re going to have tendencies," LaPolice said.
"If you used a signal that you used (in the previous game), you might want to change it up because they’ve watched it all week. You’re always trying to minimize how much you’re showing them, and then change if you do show them stuff."
LaPolice said mental mistakes during Sunday’s Labour Day Classic, from which the Bombers emerged with a 28-25 victory, cost his offence points on the board, making the game closer than it needed to be.
"We didn’t do it the way we were supposed to," he said. "You get huge plays, one of them would have been a touchdown and one of them would have put the ball at the 10-yard line. We’ve practised all week, make sure you do it the way it was drawn up and everything will be handled. That can lead to some more points for us."
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There’s been no doubting LaPolice’s enjoyment of having veteran running back Andrew Harris at his disposal on game days. The Winnipegger currently leads the league in rushing yards with 655 and rushing attempts with 143, 22 more than the next closest back, Jerome Messam of the Calgary Stampeders.
"Certainly, we believe in running the football and he’s excellent," LaPolice he said. "He can catch the ball a number of different ways. There’s always a different way to get him a touch or two. He can break tackles and he can put people in the right spots. I think our players respond to him. I think he creates things when he breaks tackles… we feed off that."
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Maurice Leggett missed practice for a second day Thursday, but declared himself fit for Saturday’s Banjo Bowl against the Riders.
"I’m just an old guy. Two games in one week, a little body around all those big bodies," said the 29-year-old cornerback. "Everything is good."
Leggett, who had a quieter game based on his recent standards, said the Blue Bombers defence played below average in Sunday’s 28-25 win.
"We were well below expectations," he said. "We know what we have to do to dominate the game. I don’t expect anything less than guys flying around to the ball no matter what happens."
Leggett admitted the defence can’t allow themselves to get bored on the field and must be even-keeled.
"They’re a great team and they have a lot of great players there," Leggett said. "We just have to go back to what we know."