Oliveira rewarded for sensational season-opener



Brady Oliveira’s impressive first start didn’t go unnoticed.

The second-year Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back was named one of the CFL’s Top Performers of the Week for Week 1. The 23-year-old Winnipegger out of the University of North Dakota rushed for a league-high 126 yards on 22 carries and hauled in a pass for 21 yards in the team’s 19-6 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at IG Field last Thursday.

The Ottawa Redblacks claimed the other two top performer spots with linebacker Avery Williams and defensive back Abdul Kanneh. The pair helped Ottawa defeat the Edmonton Elks 16-12.

“It’s great. Still, I don’t want to look too much into it,” said Oliveira after Tuesday’s practice. “This is only my first game. I’ve still got lots to prove. I want to go out there each week and do my job, make my teammates proud and go in there knowing they can trust me. It’s great and if I keep doing my job hopefully more of those will come. I still want to take things day by day and go out there every week and get the job done and get the win.”

While the Bombers would love to see Andrew Harris (calf) return sooner rather than later, their star-studded offensive line has proven that it doesn’t matter who’s back there — they will open up holes to help them produce.

“That’s exactly it. We feel like we could put anyone back there and we want to be able to create lanes and create those seams for guys,” said veteran guard Patrick Neufeld.

“I mean, not taking anything away from what Brady can do, Brady’s a tremendous back and has worked incredibly hard at understanding the things we do and finding his kind of ability to run through what we do. He’s worked really hard at figuring that out so I think it’s marrying really well and we plan on building on that and him getting cleaner and cleaner as the season goes on.”

INJURY BUG?

There were some big names sitting out Tuesday’s practice. The list includes Harris (calf), wide receiver Darvin Adams (shoulder), defensive end Willie Jefferson (head/ankle), defensive back Josh Johnson (head), defensive tackle Steven Richardson (foot), kick returner/receiver Janarion Grant (ankle), and linebacker Kyrie Wilson (hip flexor).

McBLT TIME

The Toronto Argonauts announced Tuesday that McLeod Bethel-Thompson will get the start at quarterback in Friday’s meeting at IG Field against the Bombers. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who was acquired in the offseason, has been hampered with a hamstring issue, leading to Bethel-Thompson starting Week 1 in the team’s 23-20 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.

The 33-year-old Bethel-Thompson connected on 26-of-37 pass attempts for 354 yards and two touchdowns while rushing four times for 24 yards.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.

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