Winnipeg – An injury and a coaches decision will result in a couple of significant changes to the Winnipeg Blue Bomber lineup as they get set to host the defending Grey Cup Champion Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday night at Investors Group Field. Quincy McDuffie, who has done virtually all of the Bombers kick returning this season, will miss the game with a minor injury. And that means rookie defensive back Kevin Fogg will get his chance to haul some kicks back. Fogg is no stranger to the job. He has returned kicks in practice since the start of Bomber training camp. And at Liberty University in 2011, Fogg led the nation with a 33.5 yard kickoff return average.
“It was amazing. I had three returns for a touchdown” said Fogg. “And even though I was on the SCS level, my average pretty much tied somebody on the single A division, so I kind of say that I led the nation throughout that whole year. It was an amazing accomplishment, it was definitely an exciting time in my life.”
Fogg says he has been waiting for a chance to haul some kicks back for the Bombers. “I love doing it, I’m been waiting for the opportunity to return again so this is truly a blessing. I feel I’ve conditioned myself to handle both the returning and playing defensive back so I think I’m prepared for it.”
Yes, Fogg will continue to hold down his spot in the Bomber secondary along with returning kicks. He has been playing on the corner, but he will move to defensive halfback and replace Travis Hawkins, who was dropped to the practice roster after having a tough game in Hamilton last week. Replacing Fogg on the corner will be rookie C.J. Roberts, a product of Colorado State-Pueblo, who will be making his CFL debut.
Also added to the roster and making his Bomber debut will be receiver Gerrard Sheppard. Sheppard had a strong pre-season with the Bombers and will be used primarily on special teams against the Eskimos.
The last time Edmonton visited Investors Group Field, they defeated Ottawa to win the Grey Cup. But the time before that, they scored a 24-23 win over the Bombers when Sean Whyte kicked a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the game. Bomber linebacker Moe Leggett hasn’t forgotten that gut-wrenching loss.
“That was a crusher, I was the guy back there that caught that field goal. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m gonna be ready to play, I know the defence will and the rest of the team” said Leggett.
The Bombers are 1-2 while the Eskimos bring a 1-1 record into the game. Edmonton’s offence has been flexing its muscles in the early part of the season averaging 38 points and 462 total yards per game, keeping in mind that both of their first two games went into overtime. On the other side of the ball, the Eskimos defence has struggled, allowing 40.5 points and a league leading 459 yards per game.
The game features the first head coaching matchup between Winnipeg’s Mike O’Shea and Jason Maas of Edmonton. The two are friends and were together as coaches in Toronto when the Argos won the Grey cup in 2012. Said O’Shea “Jason is fiery, he was a lot of fun to be with when we coached together. He’s going to have his guys prepared and he’s going to be fired up himself. So, I like it, it’s fun.”
The “fun” begins at 7-30 Thursday night, with the broadcast on 680-CJOB starting at 6pm with the pre-game show