D’an­thony Batiste

Eski­mos beef­ing up in­jured O-line with Amer­i­can

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS -

OT­TAWA – The Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos aren’t mess­ing around when it comes to the pro­tec­tion of quar­ter­back Mike Reilly.

So when the in­jury bug that be­gan feed­ing on the ros­ter on the sec­ond day of train­ing camp de­cided to turn its at­ten­tion to an of­fen­sive line that has now lost four play­ers in the past three weeks, the team didn’t hes­i­tate to change the ra­tio to three Amer­i­cans on the unit in­stead of the usual two.

Against the Ot­tawa Red­Blacks on Thurs­day (5:30 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED), Ed­mon­ton’s Amer­i­can tackle po­si­tions will see Joel Figueroa re­turn to the left side af­ter sit­ting out last week with in­jury, and off-sea­son ac­qui­si­tion Colin Kelly come in off the sixgame in­jured list to take over the right side for the re­cently re­leased Tony Wash­ing­ton.

D’An­thony Batiste will start his sec­ond game of the sea­son at guard, a po­si­tion typ­i­cally played by Cana­di­ans, af­ter fill­ing in at tackle last week. held ac­count­able and be­ing a guy that’s de­pended upon again,” he said. “Next man up, I stood up to the chal­lenge and came through clean.”

The same can’t be said for left guard Danny Groulx and cen­tre Justin Sorensen, who were in­jured in last week’s win over the Hamil­ton TigerCats. That leaves guard Matt O’Don­nell as the lone Cana­dian starter left over from an orig­i­nal group that saw all five O-line­men start all first four games of the sea­son. Univer­sity of Al­berta Golden Bears prod­uct David Beard is mak­ing his first CFL start in place of Sorensen.

Toss in the re­lease of Amer­i­can tackle Tony Wash­ing­ton ear­lier this week and it all amounts to a much dif­fer­ent look­ing group in front of quar­ter­back Mike Reilly than the one that lined up just three weeks ago.

“It is, but we have a good group of guys, we’ve been to­gether for a while,” Batiste said. “Guys are just step­ping in and play­ing their roles and you get to see who re­ally took their men­tal prepa­ra­tion to heart the weeks they weren’t in.

“They’re di­al­ing it in now and when­ever their num­ber’s called they’re be­ing ac­count­able and they’re guys that we can de­pend on.”

The flip-side of start­ing three Amer­i­cans up front means the Eski­mos will only be start­ing two Amer­i­can re­ceivers, wide-out Vi­dal Hazel­ton and slot­back Bryant Mitchell, down from the four they be­gan the sea­son with. In­stead, Cory Wat­son will be joined by fel­low Cana­di­ans Chris Get­zlaf and Shamawd Cham­bers, who is mak­ing his de­but in his sec­ond stint in green and gold af­ter com­ing off the six-game in­jured list.

While the Red­Blacks sit sec­ond over­all in quar­ter­back pres­sures be­hind the Eski­mos, Ot­tawa’s de­fence has had trou­ble fin­ish­ing on the pass rush and are in the bot­tom half of the league in sacks.

“We need to make sure we give them some dif­fer­ent looks too,” Red­Blacks head coach Rick Camp­bell said. “I know O-line is a tough po­si­tion to play and when you have mov­ing parts, there’s a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that needs to go on.

“So hope­fully, we can give him some dif­fer­ent looks and give them some­thing to talk about and think about.” In and out WR Duke Wil­liams and LT Joel Figueroa are back on the ac­tive 46-man ros­ter af­ter sit­ting out a game with in­jury, while WR Shamawd Cham­bers, DB Mar­cell Young, DB For­rest Hightower and RT Colin Kelly have come in off the six-game in­jured list ... SB Bran­don Zyl­stra, DB Garry Peters, LG Danny Groulx, C Justin Sorensen have all been placed on the onegame in­jured list. LB Doug Par­rish has been placed on the six-game in­jured list. @Sun­Mod­de­jonge

Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats’ C.J. Gable (32) is tack­led by Eski­mos Christophe Mu­lumba-Tshi­manga (10) and D’An­thony Batiste (64).

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