Pierre-Luc Labbé nommé chez les Capitaines des Blue Bombers

Toute mes félicitations à Pierre-Luc Labbé pour sa mention de Capitaine au près des Blue Bombers de Winnipeg. Bravo Pierre-Luc.


Ask Brandon Stewart how different Winnipeg’s defence will be this season, and he gets a gleam in his eye.

The 25-year-old, one of the Bombers’ starting corners, says new co-ordinator Tim Burke has the defence playing plenty of in-your-face, man-to-man coverage on receivers.

“They want us to beat ’em up,” Stewart said, Monday, the first day of preparations for the season-opener in Hamilton, Friday. “I’m fine with that. I’m a big corner, and I can run with the best of ’em.”

Stewart, 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, has switched to the wide side of the field, where the Bombers hope his speed and catching ability will lead to big plays.

“When people throw the ball up on the wide side of the field, the ball hangs in the air a lot,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “And you’ve got a guy who played receiver in high school and junior college who can catch the ball. He can be dangerous out there.”

As for winning a starting job, Stewart just shrugs as if that’s where he’s meant to be.

“Since Day 1 of training camp, I’ve been starting at that position. I just assumed it was mine to lose,” he said. “I put in a lot of work this off-season, prepared myself well mentally and physically to compete. I just busted my tail.”

Stewart says working against the Bomber receivers should have him well prepared to handle the opposition.

He finished last season with 27 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery.

NERVOUS WEEKEND: It seems cut-down day always causes a few cold sweats, even for veterans like Obby Khan.

“Every time my phone rang or a text message went off before 5 p.m. (Saturday), I was, ‘Oh, god.’ You never know,” Khan said. “That’s the nature of the business. I still get very nervous all the way up until the end of the year. You’ve got to perform every day, or you’re gone.”

Khan was manning the starting centre position in practice, Monday.

NEW GUN: Quarterback Justin Goltz, cut on the weekend, may not have wanted a practice roster spot, but Brandon Summers is only too happy to oblige.

The Bombers have brought in the 24-year-old out of Youngstown State as a fourth quarterback.

The 6-foot-0, 212-pounder grabbed the starting job at Youngstown after transferring from Toledo University, and ran with it — literally.

“He can really run,” LaPolice said.

Not that he doesn’t have an arm.

Summers passed for 3,869 yards and 35 touchdowns in 21 games over two seasons at Youngstown.

OLD FRIEND RETURNS: Safety and special teamer Jason Nugent is back in town, added to the practice roster.

Nugent played the 2007-08 seasons here, mainly on special teams, but also starting six games at safety.

The Bombers traded him to Edmonton in ’09, where he recorded 20 special teams tackles.

“I liked him when I used to watch him,” LaPolice said. “I was in the (2007) Grey Cup against him … he had a ton of tackles. You can never have too many special teams players.”

ON STANDBY: Joining Nugent and Summers on the practice roster: OL Brendan Dunn, RB Alex Henderson, DL Kenny Mainor, DL Bryant Turner and DB Arrington Hicks.

Linebacker/long snapper John Surla remains in camp, as well.

MY CAPTAINS: Brandon Stewart and Pierre-Luc Labbe will serve as special teams captains this season.

Offensive captains are REC Terrence Edwards and OL Brendon LaBatte, while DL Doug Brown and LB Clint Kent serve on defence.

TWO-MINUTE PENALTY: Taking a page from the hockey coach’s manual, LaPolice said rookie OL Paul Swiston has a “lower body” hurt that put him on the nine-game injured list to start the season.

We trust this is not the start of a trend.