Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Dominique Davis says he learned the a lot during his first two CFL seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He has the opportunity to show just how much on Friday night when he starts against his former team for the first time.
Davis and the Redblacks will kick off Week 4 of the season when they host the Blue Bombers in a battle of undefeated teams. The Blue Bombers are looking to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2014, while the Redblacks have never accomplished the feat since joining the league back in 2014.
"It's going to be fun," Davis said. "I know most of the guys on offence, some of the guys on defence, but this is my first time being a starter playing against my old team. It's family outside the lines, but inside the lines things are different."
Davis is in his first year as the Redblacks' starter after spending last season as a backup for Trevor Harris, who left for Edmonton as a free agent. While he's making the most of his opportunity in Ottawa, he's thankful to the Bombers for giving him his start.
"That whole organization taught me everything I know now," Davis said. "Ottawa's been doing a great job of keeping me sharp on that stuff, but I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for (Winnipeg offensive co-ordinator Paul) LaPolice, (quarterback coach) Buck Pierce and (head coach Mike) O'Shea."
The Redblacks offence will have a tough challenge, as Winnipeg has allowed just one offensive touchdown in two games this season. And Ottawa is coming off a bye week, which hasn't always worked well in its favour. The Redblacks have a 4-7 record after a week off.
With that in mind, Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell chose to mix things up a little bit.
"I made an emphasis this week to come back a few days early and had some practices to just get switched back to football, we didn't even talk about Winnipeg," said Campbell. "It was just about us getting back in the groove of football and then transition on into more of a normal week for the Winnipeg practice and hopefully that pays off for us."
The Bombers will be without middle linebacker Adam Bighill as he was moved to the one-game injured list. It's a significant loss for Winnipeg, leaving Kyrie Wilson with big shoes to fill.
As stingy as the Bombers have been defensively, they also have some offensive weapons. Wide receiver Lucky Whitehead scored two touchdowns and totalled 155 yards in the Bombers 28-21 win over Edmonton last week, and Ottawa safety Antoine Pruneau said the Redblacks need to be prepared for him.
"He's a player with a lot of speed and is very dynamic, which is pretty much a description of Winnipeg as a team," said Pruneau. "We're going to need to control him and stay between him and the red zone."
WINNIPEG (2-0) AT OTTAWA (2-0)
THREES ARE WILD – Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols has started the season with three TD passes in each game and is tied for the CFL lead with six.
RANDLE RALLIES – After spending five seasons in Winnipeg the Bombers released Chris Randle in January. The Redblacks picked up the veteran cornerback shortly after, and he has been a solid addition to Ottawa's defensive core.
KICK IT – Ottawa's Richie Leone is averaging 53.6 yards to lead the CFL in punting average, putting him on a record pace thus far.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press