Toronto Star

CFL East Division Final: O-line unsung heroes of Ottawa’s success


OTTAWA— The five players on the Ottawa Redblacks’ offensive line have enjoyed little fanfare this season, and that is fine with them.

The Redblacks had the rare luxury of starting the same five lineman — Jon Gott, J’Micheal Deane, Nolan MacMillan, Colin Kelly and SirVincent Rogers — all 18 games this season. In comparison, the other teams in the league started an average of 9.5 players on the line.

“We’re really lucky I guess,” said offensive line coach Bryan Chiu. “To play that many games and have the same five guys it doesn’t happen often. I think (head coach Rick) Campbell has done a good job managing practices and keeping our guys healthy.”

That consistenc­y on the line allowed Ottawa to field a potent offence, and the Redblacks will be looking for more of the same when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Sunday afternoon in the East Division Final.

The five linemen take pride in having started every game and say they’re more than happy to let quarterbac­ks Henry Burris and the receivers enjoy the accolades.

“We do the dirty work and we let those guys go out and do what they do, which is run around and make plays,” said Rogers. “We’re fine with that. We don’t need to be glorified for what we do.”

Burris has had a career year and acknowledg­es much of the success goes to his linemen for providing him the time and space to do his job.

The Redblacks allowed the fourth fewest sacks, 43, in the league. Last year they allowed 56.

“It’s very rare that you’re able to go through an entire season especially with your entire front five intact throughout the course of the season,” said Burris.

The offensive line also enjoys spending time together off the field. Thursday nights are a regular gettogethe­r, as they hit a local restaurant for all-you-can-eat ribs.

“They love seeing us come in,” said Rogers with a laugh.

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