Despite the rust, in Lulay the Lions trust
B.C. demotes Jennings, hands starting QB job to veteran back from surgery
VANCOUVER Travis Lulay admits he might be a little rusty tonight and insists he’s not overly worried about it.
The B.C. Lions did the expected on Friday, naming Lulay as their starting quarterback for tonight’s CFL clash at B.C. Place Stadium against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He takes over the No. 1 job from Jonathon Jennings, who has struggled the last two weeks.
Lulay hasn’t played since suffering a right knee injury last September that ended his season and required surgery.
The Lions (1-2) certainly could use a boost right now after being blown out their last two road games, including a 41-19 decision a week ago against the Blue Bombers (2-2).
Lulay said he might be rusty. “I’m human and I’m not going to hide from that,” Lulay, 34, said. “I’m not as concerned about that, just in terms of my mental prep. I just accept part of that.
“If you miss a throw here or there, you just keep playing. Those type of things happen. I might miss a read. I might throw a ball right to (Winnipeg safety Taylor) Loffler’s face mask or something.
“If I stay confident about it and keep throwing the ball, I’ll put our team in a position to win. That’s my mindset. I’m trying to ooze that confidence to the group and play with that myself. I think that can make up for a little bit of rust.”
Lulay hasn’t taken many snaps in practice this season, but said he “feels comfortable.” He admits he’s “drawing on experience.”
He’ll be making his 131st appearance for the Lions and his 70th start.
For those keeping score at home, the Lions are 25-9 all-time at B.C. Place when Lulay plays.
“I felt comfortable in the pocket all week,” said Lulay, the CFL’s 2011 Most Outstanding Player and Grey Cup MVP. “I’m comfortable throwing the football, I feel good about my eyes. Now that the knee has caught up, I feel ready to roll.
“My function is 100 per cent. I’m doing everything at practice. You wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know my history. If you were watching the tape, you wouldn’t know. That’s what I needed to see on film.
“A month ago, there was still maybe a hitch in my gait when I’m running.”
Lions coach Wally Buono strongly hinted a change was coming, but refused to admit he was sending Jennings, 25, to the bench.
Lulay said the Lions were just “staying disciplined to the process.
“We talked about it three weeks ago: every week we’re going to reassess,” said Lulay. “Talking to orthopedic surgeons, you would reintroduce a guy in basketball or soccer at reduced minutes. That’s not a reality in football. We bridged that gap during the practice week doing extra conditioning, functional drills to stimulate being ready for a game.
“This week we were just true to the process and said that we would sit down and talk about it. I didn’t get ahead of myself. I had a couple of good days of work. At the end of it, I said, ‘Do you guys see anything? Because I feel good. If It looks good on film, let’s do this.’”
For his part, B.C. running back Jeremiah Johnson maintained the team wasn’t focused on the quarterback change. He admitted they need better performances across the board.
“We need to repay these guys,” he said of the Blue Bombers. “We went to their house and they showed us nasty hospitality. We have to return the favour and show it in great fashion.”
The Lions were 3-1 with Lulayas their starter last season, and they were 4-10 with Jennings.
Veteran B.C. pivot Travis Lulay will start his first game since last September when the Lions host the Blue Bombers tonight in Vancouver. The Lions lost to the Bombers 41-19 a week ago in Winnipeg.