Simply watch them.
That’s the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ reply to anybody who says they don’t stand an opportunity happening the highway to knock off the defending champion Calgary Stampeders within the CFL West semifinal.
“Inform ’em to look at the sport Sunday,” O-lineman Jermarcus Hardrick was saying, Friday. “’Trigger speaking hasn’t acquired something executed over right here in I don’t know what number of years.”
Truly, the fourth-year Bomber is aware of precisely how lengthy it’s been since a Winnipeg soccer staff did greater than discuss successful a Gray Cup title.
The folks residing the drought gained’t let him overlook it.
“Followers let me know each day on Twitter what number of years,” Hardrick mentioned. “So talkin’ hasn’t executed it over right here. It’s ‘hashtag 29 years’ each time we put up something. I’m simply attempting to be a part of the group that fixes this 29-year drought. And it begins with Sunday.”
The Bombers are underdogs, however not longshots. Calgary, at 12-6, completed with only one extra win on the season. And Winnipeg gained two of three conferences.
The Bombers are placing a number of inventory right into a season-ending, last-minute, home-field victory over the Stamps in a sport that meant a lot, even when it got here by only one level.
“You’ve acquired to have the ability to win shut video games within the playoffs,” linebacker Adam Bighill mentioned. “Once you end the season with a win when you must get a W and time’s on the clock and you must make it occur, that’s rising to the event. It simply reveals you what we will do and the place we’re attempting to maneuver ahead to.
“You go ask Calgary what they really feel about us coming into this sport, I’m positive they’re going to say they’re not taking us calmly.”
One key stat: Calgary was 7-2 at residence this season, the Bombers Three-6 on the highway.
“If you happen to’re a stats man … you’d in all probability say that the groups that go on the highway in playoffs don’t win as usually as groups that play at residence,” Bighill mentioned. “We play the video games. We don’t have a look at stats.”
The Stamps have one of many prime quarterbacks in CFL historical past in Bo-Levi Mitchell, whereas the Bombers are going with their third quarterback of the season in trade-deadline acquisition Zach Collaros.
Quarterbacking was the distinction in final yr’s West Ultimate in Calgary, because the Bombers managed simply 14 factors behind Matt Nichols, who’s out for the season with a shoulder harm.
“That’s positively one thing we have to enhance on,” operating again Andrew Harris mentioned of the offensive output. “Our offence could be the perfect defence so far as staying on the sector and sustaining drives.”
NO STREVELATION FROM O’SHEA
Who’ll again up Collaros and run the short-yardage offence for Winnipeg stays considerably of a thriller, though the sensible cash is on rookie Sean McGuire.
The Bombers held a closed apply on Friday, so it wasn’t clear if Chris Streveler’s wonky foot allowed him to participate.
One report mentioned Streveler is coping with a damaged bone, however head coach Mike O’Shea shed no mild on his harm or whether or not he’d play.
“He’s coping with no matter he’s acquired simply advantageous,” O’Shea mentioned. “The script has been set. I’m not going to speak a couple of participant’s harm. Ever.”
The standing of centre Michael Couture was equally imprecise.
THE KICKING MACHINE
The harm to Streveler and one to lengthy snapper Chad Rempel imply kicker Justin Medlock’s “operation” has undergone some surprising adjustments.
It might have proven within the regular-season finale, when his game-winning area purpose within the dying seconds got here after McGuire, his new holder, was pressured to haul down a excessive snap from Maxime Latour, his new lengthy snapper.
“It’s why we apply issues with our holders,” Medlock mentioned. “I’m always throwing balls low or excessive, or wherever they wrestle. As a result of we’re an operation. One man can save the day. Sean can save the day within the operation. And generally I can save a kick. So all of us do it collectively.”
Medlock says he at all times expects video games to return all the way down to a last-minute area purpose. After a powerful end to his season, he feels rejuvenated and prepared for it.
“You don’t wish to put on your self out an excessive amount of within the season,” he mentioned. “I might have worn myself out somewhat bit. However we had a bye week. It was good to get your self again collectively. It’s an extended season. I’m actually taking part in properly and wholesome. It’s all in regards to the finish. You wish to be taking part in your greatest soccer on the finish of the season.”
EXPECT A NEW WRINKLE OR TWO
It’s the Bombers’ third assembly in a row with the Stampeders, one thing O’Shea couldn’t recall ever taking place over his profession.
So they need to know much more about one another’s tendencies than groups would in a typical playoff sport.
“They’re at all times going to have a wrinkle or two, as we are going to I’m positive,” O’Shea mentioned. “It’s simply nearly all of what you see all yr and what you examine goes to indicate up once more.”