Blue Bombers coach likes CFLs' muscle, speed, rush

November 27, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- If today's Grey Cup is going to be won at the line of scrimmage, Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Cal Murphy likes the Baltimore CFLs.

If speed is the deciding factor, or a strong pass rush, he still sides with the Eastern Division champions.

But if emotion is all that is needed, Calgary Stampeders quarterback Doug Flutie sees the B.C. Lions hoisting the trophy in front of their home fans at B.C. Place.

First, this piece of analysis from Murphy, who has won nine Grey Cups as a coach or general manager: "I think Baltimore's offensive line is big enough to move them. B.C. has an awfully aggressive front, and, as a result, they can be trapped, which Baltimore can do very well. They don't run a controlled rush, and Baltimore will pop a few on them."

Murphy, whose team went 1-3 against the CFLs, including a June exhibition loss, said Baltimore also has an advantage on defense.

"Baltimore cheats its defense to take the best thing you do away from you," he said. "We tried to do a couple of things, but our blocking just didn't hold up. You have to be able to adapt in a hurry, call the right plays."

If not, your quarterback could be in for a long afternoon, which Murphy expects to happen with the Lions' Kent Austin and Danny McManus.

"I don't know if their quarterbacks are mobile enough to avoid that constant pressure," Murphy said.

What about the Lions' being on their own turf, with a boisterous crowd eager to disrupt Baltimore whenever it has the ball?

"Noise will be a factor," Murphy said. "I've talked to [Baltimore coach] Don Matthews two or three times this week. They like to call their plays at the line of scrimmage, and noise becomes a problem there. How they handle that will be important."

Murphy also said B.C. will have trouble springing tailback Cory Philpot, who rushed for a club-record 1,513 yards this season, because of Baltimore's speed on defense, particularly at linebacker.

Can't run, can't pass.

Can't win.

L "I think Baltimore can beat them by 10 points," Murphy said.

It wasn't that close when Baltimore and B.C. met last month. The CFLs jumped to a big lead and had an easy time, winning, 48-31.

So why does Flutie, who won an unprecedented fourth consecutive Most Outstanding Player award Thursday, say B.C. will prevail?

It isn't favoritism toward his brother, Darren, a Lions slotback. Flutie concedes Baltimore has a more physical defense, but "the emotional level that B.C. is going to play at is going to be the difference.

"I honestly believe B.C. is going to win the game because they believe they're going to win, they don't care what the situation is, and with the crowd behind them, no matter how poorly things can go at times, it's not going to get them down. And if they get any kind of momentum at any point, it could be easier for Baltimore to lose confidence.

"Usually, in a Grey Cup or in any big game, you have to weather the storm. Teams are going to beat each other up in the first part of the game, and then everything kind of settles down. I don't think B.C. will ever settle down."

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