[b]LIONS, ESKIMOS CLASH IN SECOND GAME OF FRIDAY'S DOUBLEHEADER[/b]
SURREY, B.C. - When pint-sized tailback Stefan Logan takes a handoff Friday against the Edmonton Eskimos, he'll not only be running with the football.
He'll also have a chip on his shoulder.
"I'm going to try to give us a little confidence boost," the B.C. Lions rookie said Wednesday of his starting role in a rematch of last week's 35-24 Edmonton victory. "I'm going to come in with a chip on my shoulder and I'm going to go out there and give it everything I can to win this game."
The Lions need a victory. They are a tepid 3-3 and have already lost as many games as they did last season, when they led the CFL's West Division with a 14-3-1 record.
They are 0-3 against divisional opponents and facing a 4-2 Edmonton club coming off an emotional win last week when slotback Jason Tucker returned to their locker-room after suffering a broken neck against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Logan, listed at five-foot-six ("and three-quarters," he says), gave the Lions a boost earlier this season with a 143-yard rushing effort when they arrived in Winnipeg 0-2.
He replaced punishing inside runner Joe Smith when last year's CFL rushing leader suffered a shoulder injury. The Lions won three straight. Coach Wally Buono said the change is more about productivity than injury this time.
"It's not a different look," Buono said of the speedy Logan. "It's a guy who played two games for us and gave us a spark, gave us the ability to be more productive running the football and when there was an opportunity made big plays.
"Football's a game of what have you done for me today and when you look at trying to win a football game, you've got to look at the personnel and put in the guys you feel can help you win."
Logan, who played collegiately at South Dakota where he also ran track, said in an interview at the Lions' suburban practice facility that he's motivated by the time spent running drills and on the sideline.
"So when you get out there you want to do everything you can to help the team win," he said, flashing a mouthful of gold teeth.
"That's what gives you a chip on your shoulder. You want to get out there and show everybody that you're the man who can get it done."
Smith has struggled in that role this year. He had 58 yards on 13 carries last week against Edmonton and caught one pass for a three-yard loss. His low point was 27 yards on 13 rushes against Calgary.
Smith is averaging 4.3 yards a carry while Logan is averaging 6.6 and has 220 yards in two games against the Blue Bombers.
Logan, who could see 245-pound Canadian Rolly Lumbala get the work in short-yardage situations, has a contrasting running style to Smith.
"He's more of a downhill runner, he's a big guy," said Logan, who spent time on the Miami Dolphins practice roster and attended a New York Giants mini-camp before signing with B.C.
"I'm a small scatback or whatever you want to call me but I've been trying to prove to people that just because of my size, doesn't mean I can't run inside and outside.
"They just think I can get the ball on a toss or a sweep and hit it straight outside but you've got to try to prove people wrong."
If Logan does, Smith says he won't be at B.C. Place to witness it. He didn't attend Logan's second CFL start and first at home, preferring to tend his garden.
Buono said he's not fazed by Smith's choice.
"He's not accountable to me when it comes to that," said Buono. "He's accountable to himself and his teammates. I don't focus on the players who aren't playing. I focus on the 42 that are."
This comes in a week when a players-only meeting discussed playing for the team and not themselves.
"We were just being selfish, everyone wanting to make the play, and not just buying into the program and getting the job done," said defensive back Reggie Myles, part of a secondary torched by Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray for 392 yards and two touchdowns.
"So, until we get the problem fixed with ourselves, it's going to be a long, lengthy season but I don't think it's going to be that way."
Notes: While Edmonton will miss Tucker, the Lions will also be without their top receiver again as Geroy Simon rode a stationary bike to rehabilitate an injured hamstring ... B.C. added non-import slotback Greg Hetherington to their practice roster ... He played at McGill under Chuck McMann, now the B.C. special teams coach.
Should be another good game between these two teams. Lions will definitely miss Simon again tonight so Paris Jackson and Clermont will have to step up and try and fill that void.
Lions should win. I'll predict 30-23.