It’s the second half of a back to back
September 8, 2012
Eight days is simply not enough time to temper emotions. In the second half of the home-and home series between the BC Lions and Montreal, the Alouettes find themselves in Vancouver with bragging rights having won on their own turf last week.
The BC Lions are still smarting after that last second loss, no doubt replaying the final down over and over in their minds.
This should be another tilt in what has become a fantastic rivalry between the CFL’s elite teams, and with both squads equally matched this game is all about will over skill.
Expect emotions to run high and the football to be excellent.
Top Shelf Keys to the Game
Clearly the Alouettes were targeting Lions HB Lin-J Shell last week by trying to get the ball to their SB SJ Green. With Jamel Richardson, a late scratch last week, returning, look for them to attack Korey Banks.
Richardson will be Anthony Calvillo’s favourite target even with the back-to-back excellent offensive production turned in by Green.
If last week’s contest was any indication this game may be decided on the legs of the kickers. BC’s Paul McCallum and Montreal’s Sean Whyte have been the CFL leaders in point totals this year, and each have made recent game winning field goals with zeroes on the clock.
While BC may be the home squad today, the dome will be open which may give a slight edge to the accuracy of Whyte.
There is some concern over the availability of Lions Super-hero SB Geroy Simon. Simon suffered a hamstring injury last week, where he missed the entire second half.
If he can’t go, QB Travis Lulay will have to focus in on another receiver. While Shawn Gore has been productive, and Paris Jackson may see an increased role, Lulay will most likely try to get the ball into the sure hands of Arland Bruce III.
Bruce is fresh off of a 2 touchdown performance and is worthy of extra targets.
No Holds Barred
In round one, the Lions welcomed back DT Khalif Mitchell to the front four. It may have been a solid outing, Mitchell looked to be still getting over the effects sitting out for two consecutive weeks. He and the rest of the boys in the trenches need to provide constant pressure on Calvillo by getting to him in any way possible.
One sack (by Khreem Smith) last week is not the production they require for success. The Alouettes explosive offensive front must be held in check by the pass rush.
I suspect Coach Mike Benevides has drawn up a few more blitzes and stunts to free up DE Keron Williams.
In my mind this will be the toughest game of Coach Benevides career. Same game, same opponent, but looking for a different result, the epitome of life size checkers.
The players may have kept the Lions within striking distance last week but today will be about how Bene can out-think the mastermind that is Al’s head coach Marc Trestman.
- Adam Bighill will play like a man possessed as rumours swirl around BC that Linebacker Solomon Elimimian will return to the Leo’s roster.
- Nick Moore will dress this game in case Geroy Simon is still troubled by the hamstring injury.
- Speedster WR Kierre Johnson also returns to the BC Line-up.
- Montreal’s LB Shea Emry will have a two-fold homecoming of sorts. The Vancouver College alum also saw time on the UBC Thunderbirds roster.
- Lions D-Coordinator Rich Stubler is opting to dress 7 D-Linemen, indicating an increased attack by the front four.
- Lin-J Shell will start at LB/HB for the second straight game.
It’s no big deal really. The winner of the game will just sit atop the CFL standings with a 7 and 3 record.
With Labour Day dissolving fast in the rear view mirror, both the Alouettes and the Lions will set their sights on a new goal, a November classic on a neutral site and victory here will go a long way in establishing the league’s most dominant force.
Cheers, The Bartender