December 1, 2021

Quick Hits | Western Final Countdown — Wednesday

Quick Hits from Blue Bombers practice on Wednesday as the club prepares for Sunday’s Western Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at IG Field…

1. BIG — B-I-G — DEVELOPMENT: The Bombers opened their practice week with some eye-popping news as star running back Andrew Harris was back at work in the backfield. Harris got a lot of reps throughout practice and showed no signs of the injury that has kept him out of the lineup since October 15th in Edmonton.

“It felt good today,” said Harris. “It was nice to get out there with the guys again and not be in a parka and my Timberland boots. It’s just great to run around and be a part of the huddle again.
“… Hopefully I can continue to stay healthy throughout the week and the rest of the playoffs and get to the ultimate goal again.”
Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea wouldn’t confirm that Harris will be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Roughriders — that likely won’t come right up until the depth chart is revealed on Saturday.
“He looked excited to be out there running around, but that’s never a question,” O’Shea said of Harris. “Guys who have been off the field for a bit are always excited to be out on the field. The rest test comes tomorrow when we see how he feels. We’ll wait and see.”

2. INJURY REPORT: Not practising on Wednesday were DB Noah Hallett, FB Mike Miller while DE Jackson Jeffcoat had his reps limited. As an added bonus to go along with the return of Harris, Brady Oliveira was also back taking reps, too, giving the Bombers the full compliment of their Canadian ground force, including Johnny Augustine.

“The way that those guys have played and proved themselves, we’re definitely a three-headed monster,” said Harris. “We all have our different styles the way we run the football. It’s totally up to the coaches as to how they want to mix us up. There’s only one football out there and there’s a lot of capable receivers and guys on our offence that can make plays, too.
“However they want to spread the ball around and get it into our playmakers’ hands, the beauty of it is we have a bunch of guys who can make plays. There’s no shortage of that on our offence. It’s good to see and it’s a great problem to have.”

3. A JUICY FINAL FOUR: Bombers defensive tackle Jake Thomas said it best after practice on Wednesday — the CFL couldn’t have asked for better matchups that Winnipeg vs. Saskatchewan in the Western Final and an Eastern Final featuring two old rivals in Hamilton and Toronto.
“If you had to draw up two games for the league I think they would have picked these two matchups,” said Thomas. “It’s great to see these Labour Day matchups in December. Any time you play Saskatchewan it’s always fun — especially here and especially in the playoffs.
“I’m going to be quite biased, but I think this is the best rivalry in the CFL. It’s two fan bases that really care about their teams and dislike the other,. It’s two provinces that don’t get along too well during football season.”

4. JAKE SALUTED: One more from Thomas…
Long considered one of the most-respected teammates in the Blue Bombers locker room, Thomas is also the longest-serving member of the club — all factors in why the veteran defensive tackle was chosen as the first player to be handed the Grey Cup by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie during the celebrations after the 2019 championship.
But his commitment to the game and his community goes beyond that and is represented by his selection as the Blue Bomber nominee for the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, which ‘annually recognizes a Canadian CFL player who demonstrates the attributes of Canada’s veterans: strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship and contribution to Canadian communities.’

“Any time you’re nominated for something, it’s nice,” said Thomas. “I’m not to big on individual awards — probably because I don’t win them too often — and I think everyone is just focussed on the Grey Cup. But I’m sure my mom is going to be happy.
“I’ve read up on the award. It seems pretty cool and it’s great to be the representative of this team and it’s just an honour to be nominated with the other guys involved.”
More on the award and the nine nominees, one from each CFL club, can be found here:

Nine players nominated for Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award