5 Quick Hits from Thursday — Day 2 of the Blue Bombers practice week leading up to Sunday’s matchup with the Calgary Stampeders at IG Field:
1. THE HARRIS WATCH: With the daily workload slowly increasing for Andrew Harris, here’s what Bomber head coach Mike O’Shea when asked what would need to happen for the veteran running back to get back in the lineup:
“It’s still a question of seeing him get through a full practice and then seeing how he feels the next day. He was limited again today and, as we always do with these guys, we evaluate them in the morning to see how they come out. Usually the adrenaline’s going and you’re still warm post-practice. It’s not until later in the evening or the next morning that you see if there are any issues that arise.”
Both Harris and Brady Oliveira split reps during Wednesday’s session, but Thursday’s was closed to the media.
2. ‘SNAP AND CLEAR’: Bombers QB Zach Collaros used the ‘snap and clear’ term a few times on Wednesday in explaining how the club has to learn from and flush last week’s loss.
Here’s O’Shea when asked to explain the phrase from his perspective:
“I think we do a pretty good job of moving on from a win or a loss. I don’t know that we dwell on any of it. Once again, the process we follow is enjoy the camaraderie of your teammates post game and come to work the next day, review what we need to review and then move on to the next opponent.
“That process doesn’t change win or lose. That’s what guys are getting at when they say those things.
3. FIXING THE FIXABLE: The Bombers surrendered over 100 yards rushing in each of the last two games — a telling number for a squad that allowed just 64.2 yards along the ground per game in 2019.
Veteran Bombers DT Jake Thomas spoke Thursday after practice about the significance of giving up 100 yards.
“I don’t think we ever want to see guys get 100 yards rushing,” he said. “But I think it’s it all depends on the flow of the game, right? If we’re up 20 or 30 points and for some reason they want to keep running the ball, we’ll let them run up and down the field the whole time.
“Obviously you never want anyone to run the ball down your throat. We’ve done a good job of making teams the last few years one dimensional. That was in the past. We’ve had two back-to-back games of giving up 100 yards so we’ve got to get back to basics and really focus on shutting down the run.”
4. QUOTABLE: “We’re not just focussed on starting training camp, we’re focussed on making sure we can finish. So, we have to get players at a high rate and even after vaccination we have to be diligent in following the protocols and making sure we’re not taking unnecessary risks and possibly hurting our chances at playing.
“If people doubted the severity of the fourth wave, this is a good wake-up call.” — O’Shea, when asked again to comment on the Toronto-Edmonton game scheduled for tonight being postponed due to a dozen Elks players and staff testing positive for COVID-19.
5. ICYMI: CFL teams never stop scouring the earth looking for talent. Late Wednesday afternoon the Bombers announced the addition of two new players in defensive back Mike Hampton and offensive lineman Jalen Burks.
Hampton was a three-year starter at South Florida who passed through the NFL Draft this past spring after starting all nine of USF’s games in 2020. He had 33 tackles, four pass break-ups and a fumble recovery last season.
Burks, meanwhile, joins the Bombers after being in camp with the Toronto Argonauts this summer. He spent five seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was a member of the All-WIAC Second Team in 2018 and 2019. Last year he played in the Dream Bowl, one of the top all-star games in the U.S.
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