The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG–Paul LaPolice had something important to say to Andrew Harris.
After Tuesday’s practice, the Blue Bombers’ offensive co-ordinator told reporters about a conversation he had with the star running back after Saturday night’s 20-17 loss to the B.C. Lions.
“At the three-yard line, I should have gotten you one of those two touches,'” LaPolice said of his words to Harris.
The Bombers were up 17-0 in the third quarter and it was second down from the three-yard line.
Back-up quarterback Chris Streveler kept the ball twice and was denied, leading to a turnover on downs.
Winnipeg also faced another key short-yardage situation with eight minutes to go in the fourth and a 17-10 lead.
On third-and-one, Streveler unsuccessfully ran around the edge rather than going straight ahead.
That was a different scenario, LaPolice said.
“I don’t think many people in the Canadian Football League, on third-and-one, hand the ball to the tailback,” he noted.
Harris, who took a maintenance day and didn’t practise Tuesday, finished the game with 13 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s like, ‘No problem, coach, no problem,'” LaPolice said of Harris’ response to his misjudgement.
“Andrew touches the ball more than anybody else on any CFL team so we understand how to give him the ball,” LaPolice added.
“Sometimes he won’t always get the ball but that’s how it rolls.”
Harris leads the CFL with 68 carries for 449 yards in five games.
Fans have been pointing fingers at the reasons for Winnipeg’s second-half collapse.
“I do kick myself that one of those two calls at the goal-line should’ve been giving Andrew the opportunity, so I could have done a better job there,” LaPolice conceded.
There also were questions about why the team didn’t attempt field goals in those third-down situations to pad its lead.
“[LaPolice] knows that when it’s third-and-short, I want to go,” head coach Mike O’Shea said.
He had no problem with LaPolice’s play-calling.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in our short-yardage package and I don’t want [LaPolice] to second-guess any calls that he’s making,” O’Shea added.
The Bombers (2-3) next travel to Toronto this Saturday for an afternoon tilt against the Argonauts (1-3).
Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols doesn’t want to repeat his performance against the Lions.
He was 17-of-28 passing for 242 yards but threw three interceptions.
Quarterbacks coach Buck Pierce helped him get it over.
“It was one of the harder ones to flush but after we watched the film, we kind of have our grade sheets and everything and Buck took mine from me, ripped it up, and said, ‘This is over with,'” Nichols said.
“From that moment, we both were done with it and moved on to this one [against Toronto],” Pierce added.
“You have no time to feel sorry for yourself in this business,” he stressed.
“Professional football is a complete roller-coaster. You can never get too high or too low.”
Winnipeg’s defence also took some costly penalties against B.C. in the second half that kept the home team’s drives alive.
Two were for roughing the passer and one for a horse-collar tackle.
“Anytime you let up, every team has an opportunity to come back and win,” said defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall.
“It has nothing to do with them coming back.
“We’ve got to continue to work to get that killer instinct,” Hall stressed.
“When you’ve got a team down, you go for the jugular vein and you put them out of their misery.”