Running back gets encore start for Eskimos after breakout game
Shakir Bell, the next man up in the Edmonton Eskimos patchwork running game, gets a chance for an encore performance Saturday, this time against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The five-foot-eight sparkplug from Indiana State University was announced Friday as the starter when the 2-1 Eskimos take on the Bombers at Commonwealth Stadium.
“It feels great. It feels amazing,” Bell told reporters after practice.
“I wouldn’t say I expected it, but it definitely wasn’t something I was surprised about.
“Any chance I get a chance to be special with the ball in my hands I’m going to take it.”
Bell was activated off the practice roster last week for injured Chad Simpson. Simpson in turn had his chance after starter John White tore up is Achilles tendon early in training camp.
With the help of some monster holes opened up by the offensive line, Bell shredded the Ottawa Redblacks in the rain for 144 yards on 18 carries to go with two receptions for 10 yards in Edmonton’s 23-12 win last week.
A lot of those runs required Redblack defenders to join forces to bring Bell to the turf.
Simpson remains on the onegame injured list heading into the game against a 2-2 Blue Bomber team still gnashing its collective teeth over a blown early lead and an 26-25 loss last week to the Calgary Stampeders.
Along with Bell, the Eskimos also have versatile Kendial Lawrence. The 24-year-old Texan is being plugged in as needed at slotback, running back and on special teams.
Through three games Lawrence has 10 catches for 143 yards and two TDs.
He has 13 carries for 80 yards and one touchdown running the ball.
Lawrence starred at tailback in college at Missouri, and acknowledged lining up behind the quarterback is his natural position. But he said slotback in the Canadian game opens up opportunities to move the ball.