Lions break camp with four pivots on roster to guard against injury

If you thought three was a crowd, you should see the logjam in the Lion’s den.

If you thought three was a crowd, you should see the logjam in the Lion’s den.

While Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson split duties at QB last season, there will be a lot more guys holding clipboards when the B.C. Lions open in Saskatchewan on Friday.

Buck Pierce claimed the No. 1 spot last season and was solid, with 3,010 yards passing, 19 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions, but suffered a number of injuries, including one to his shoulder.

Jarious Jackson threw for 2,164 yards, 17 TDs and 10 INTs in relief.

Still, GM and head coach Wally Buono decided to add some QB insurance, with returning starter Pierce, Jackson, Zac Champion and Travis Lulay all on the roster.

Buono liked what the four brought to the table.

“I think what they give is depth and stability and we feel we have good people in those positions; an injury or two can cripple your football club,” Buono said at the end of the Lions’ practice last Friday in Surrey.

“Hopefully having the quality of quarterback and the depth there will help keep this franchise strong.”

With a lot of familiar faces entering last season, the B.C. Lions finished third in the West, with a record of 11-7, and lost to eventual Grey Cup champion Calgary in the Western final.

Adjustments needed to be made and, on top of that, the Lions lost some key players, including running back Stefan Logan and defensive lineman Cam Wake, named 2008’s outstanding defensive player, who are seeking their fortunes stateside.

Of all the losses, Wake’s hurts most as he led the league with 23 sacks, which won’t be easily replaced.

Buono says that the team will use the committee approach.

“(Gary) Butler and (Ricky) Foley have done a good job (on the D-line). They’re guys that are on the job learning,” said the coach.

“They do their part and hopefully the interior guys, (Aaron) Hunt, (Jeremy) Gibbs, (Brent) Johnson and (Nautyn) McKay-Loescher give us enough of a pass rush that Wake’s production won’t be missed.”

The Lions have their home opener on July 10 against Hamilton.

Also, there is a hole at RB and Martell Mallett could be a factor.

“The thing I like about (Mallett) is that he’s a big back, he’s almost 210 pounds, he’s physical, he runs hard, he’s got very good speed and he’s improving.”

“Hopefully we haven’t seen the best of him yet.”

 
 
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