Run­ning back gets encore start for Eski­mos af­ter break­out game

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY DEAN BEN­NETT THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

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