Fogg promises something special for semifinal
AFTER an injury-plagued 2017, Winnipeg’s Kevin Fogg had a return to form at cornerback with a career-high four interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2018.
His other role as a punt returner has not been as fruitful; he averaged
9.1 yards per return, tied for ninth in the CFL. Moreover, the Blue Bombers’ team average of 8.7 yards per punt return was eighth in the nine-team league. Fogg did not return a punt for a touchdown, but did return a missed field goal 110 yards for a major.
The 28-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., promised something special for Sunday’s West Division semifinal in Regina.
“Kevin Fogg will have a touchdown on punt return,” Fogg said with a grin following Friday’s final practice prior to the club’s departure for Saskatchewan.
“It has been a long while — 2017 in October. Perfect time to do it against Sask. First playoff game and in their territory.”
Fogg expects special teams to be crucial to the outcome of Sunday’s game, the fourth meeting of the season between the Roughriders and Blue Bombers.
“We’re going to be great,” Fogg said. “We know that special teams is the changing factor in this game. Both good defences, so now we just have to make sure that, on the special teams side, that we get good (field) position for our offence.”
THE GROUND GAME
Blue Bombers centre Matthias Goossen, a first-time West Division all-star, would like nothing better than to see running back Andrew Harris blast through some gaping holes Sunday.
“Obviously, we take a lot of pride in running the ball, but when it comes down to it, whatever’s called — if it’s a run play, great, if it’s a pass play, great — and we run that. Whatever (offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice) wants to call that day, we’re going to run those plays. Obviously, any O-lineman in the history of football would say he loves running the ball instead of dropping back and passing.”
The frosty conditions at Mosaic Stadium should be a good fit Goossen’s preferred approach.
“Any time you have a game that’s -10 C, -20 C, and a chance for snow, it’s not ideal for passing, right?” Goossen said.
“So when you have a good running game, it’s that much more important.”
Fogg is fine with cold weather, but only to a point. How will he stay warm Sunday?
“By the heater,” Fogg said. “The heater will be my best friend. But we’ll do well. It won’t be as cold as Calgary last year. That in itself was a task to deal with. It’s good to play in games like that because then you know what you can and can’t do.”
Wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, who was raised in California but played his college football at Minnesota, is an old hand at this.
“The worst game I played in was
-5 F, which would be -20 C or something like that, against Wisconsin (in 2013),” Wolitarsky said.
“The ground was like cement... you kinda get used to, ‘OK, I’m cold, I’ve just gotta accept that. It’s cold out here, big deal.’ Now you can focus on catching the ball, doing your job. If you’re always like, ‘I’m so cold, so cold, so cold,’ you’re not going to be able to focus on anything else.”
FILLING THE VOID
Veteran linebacker Ian Wild, a likely replacement if Jovan Santos-Knox (lower body) is unable to play Sunday, said it helped to get some regular snaps on defence in the regular-season finale against the Edmonton Eskimos after serving as a designated international for most of the season.
“I definitely think it helps,” Wild said. “Just to play with the guys around me, especially since I haven’t had much time out there this year. It definitely helps to knock off some of the rust and clear up any communication with the guys around me.”
Winnipeg Blue Bombers return man Kevin Fogg (left) says he intends to score on Sunday.