Home disadvantage put to a test

CFLS NOTEBOOK

October 01, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

When it comes to the Baltimore CFLs and Memorial Stadium, home-field advantage is a stretch of their imagination.

The CFLs, with the best road record in the Canadian Football League at 6-1, are 2-3 at home.

"It's got to get a lot better," said rush end O. J. Brigance. "It's hard on us, and I'm sure it's hard on our fans, too."

The CFLs take another shot at home-field superiority tonight when they face the Ottawa Rough Riders. A crowd of nearly 40,000 is expected. In five home dates, Baltimore is averaging 38,184.

"I don't know why we're 6-1 on the road and can't win the big ones at home," cornerback Karl Anthony said. "Any time you're at home, it should be an advantage. I hope it turns around."

Two of the three losses were upsets by the Toronto Argonauts and Sacramento Gold Miners. If there's a common denominator, Brigance figures it's in the intensity level.

"The big thing is playing 60 minutes," he said. "It's something we haven't done all the way through. We tend to let teams off the hook."

A victory tonight clinches a playoff berth for the CFLs. Two wins clinch a home playoff game. That's what they're shooting for -- home-field advantage, real or not.

"Right now, it's not an advantage," Anthony said. "But we definitely don't want to go to Winnipeg in November."

At 8-4, the CFLs are tied with the Blue Bombers for first place in the CFL East. First- and second-place teams in each division get home playoff games.

New faces

Changing personnel on the run, Ottawa coach Adam Rita arrived in Baltimore yesterday with three new starters on offense, one on defense and another on the way.

The Rough Riders traded for veteran linebacker Greg Battle on Thursday night, giving up "future considerations" to the Las Vegas Posse. Battle will report next week.

The Riders have lost 86 man-games to injury this year. Injury repercussions have Horace Brooks moving from defensive halfback to slotback tonight (he was originally a receiver). Rejoining the team from the injured list are halfback Brett Young and slotback Jock Climie. Young will start; Climie won't. Also moving into the lineup are fullback Dean Noel and center James Monroe.

Miscellaneous

Ottawa defensive coordinator Urban Bowman, a native of Westminster, will participate in his first game at Memorial Stadium. . . . Ottawa tackle Mike Graybill is from Annapolis. . . . Tom Herring Jr., who heads a restaurant chain in Texas as well as San Antonio's bid for a CFL expansion team, will attend tonight's game. . . . The CFLs' wives will hold a canned food drive before tonight's game to benefit the Maryland Food Bank. Fans donating a canned good or nonperishable food item will receive a coupon for $5 off CFL merchandise at the stadium store.

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