At least one B.C. Lion is disappointed quarterback Drew Tate won't be playing for the Calgary Stampeders in Sunday's Western final.
"I want to play against their best," said Lions defensive back Korey Banks after a practice Thursday at B.C. Place Stadium. "If he's their best guy, we want to bring him out here."
Kevin Glenn, 33, is slated to start for the Stamps on Sunday after Tate suffered a fractured forearm on his throwing arm in last weekend's come-from-behind 36-30 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Tate kept playing after getting hurt in the third quarter, and threw a last-minute winning touchdown to Romby Bryant. But Tate showed up at McMahon Stadium in a cast Thursday, and Stamps coach and general manager John Hufnagel ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Tate's absence means the Lions will face a familiar foe in Glenn, a 12-year CFL veteran who started all three meetings against B.C. during the regular season. In the last regular-season meeting between the teams, Glenn and Tate, playing his first game after missing most of the season with a shoulder injury, shared the quarterbacking duties.
Lions looking to defend title
The Lions, seeking a chance to defend the Grey Cup they won last year, went 2-1 against Calgary in the regular season. B.C. won the first two games and then lost 41-21 in the final contest, which in theory meant nothing because B.C. had already captured first place in the West Division.
"I was looking forward to playing against Drew Tate just because he's a younger quarterback," said Banks. "He'd been on the couch a long time (with the earlier injury.) I don't care. He could be in the film room, watching the game. There's nothing like game-time experience. I'm not saying he's not capable."
Banks likes playing against Tate, 28, because he takes an aggressive approach to his passing, and is willing to throw into dangerous situations.
"That's the biggest mistake you'll make against us if you want to play aggressive and throw the ball — just throw it — because you see somebody (open)," said Banks.
On the other hand, Glenn reminds Tate of wily former B.C. and Calgary signal-caller Dave Dickenson, now the Stampeders' offensive co-ordinator, and Montreal Alouettes star Anthony Cavillo, who like Dickenson is more selective with his passes and gets the ball off quickly.
"He's a spot thrower," said Banks. "He throws where the ball has to go. He makes the right play. He's one of the old-school quarterbacks in this league."
Glenn not effective against Lions
But Glenn has struggled much of the time against B.C. this season. In the three games, he completed a modest of 47-of-78 passes and his three interceptions outnumbered his two touchdown passes.
His best showing was in the final meeting between the clubs, when he completed 10-of-17 passes for one touchdown.
Banks said the Lions have neutralized him the way they wanted to. The nine-year CFL veteran indicated B.C.'s defence will be ready for Calgary's nominal backup QB.
"If we play our style of football, I don't care who's at quarterback," said Banks. "You can bring Peyton Manning himself. We're just going to play football. As soon as the chips fall, we're going to be all-in."
Still, the Lions plan to review the three games that they played against Glenn thoroughly. Tate only threw seven passes against B.C. this season, completing five of them. Calgary's third quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, who will serve as Glenn's backup Sunday, only attempted one pass, which he completed against the Lions.
"Basically, we go back and look at all the games we played (against Calgary), because all the snaps we pretty much had, other than, maybe, 10 or 15, were basically of Glenn," said Benevides. "So let's go and repeat exactly what we did in those games. (The approach) doesn't really change, because that's the guy who's apparently playing for them, and we have lots of experience against him."
However, Benevides added, familiarity with Glenn does not make the Lions' task easier — just because the stakes are so high. If anything, the hosts face a bigger challenge because of Glenn's abilities and intelligence.
During the regular season, the Detroit native generated a solid 4,220 yards in passing for 25 touchdowns and a completion rate of 66.7 per cent.
Tate and Glenn pose similar challenges
Lions middle linebacker Adam Bighill noted Glenn is not as mobile as Tate and likes to stay in the pocket more than the injured starter. Otherwise, Bighill, added, the quarterbacks are quite similar.
But Glenn has something that neither Tate nor B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay does: considerable CFL playoff experience.
"The hardest thing with him is, he's such an accurate passer who's gone through this before, where maybe (Tate) would have been the wild card," said Benevides.
Glenn guided the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup in 2007, but he couldn't play in what would have been his only career appearance in the championship game because of a broken arm he suffered in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Final. The Bombers lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In 11 career post-season games, he has completed 188-of-267 pass attempts for 2,163 yards. But Glenn's eight playoff touchdown tosses match his eight interceptions.
Lulay has what Glenn is still seeking — a Grey Cup ring. And the Lions are determined to make sure Glenn doesn't get one this year.