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The surprisingly strong BC Lions defensive line will be strengthened by the return of Woody Barron.

“At first, I thought he was going to come back in the middle of training camp. It took longer than anyone expected, including him.” — Head Coach Rick Campbell on Woody Barron’s Arrival

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Uncharted territory for Woody Baron.

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New team, new city, new experience.

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When the BC Lions signed a defensive tackle for the first few days of free agency in February, it was another move to address the team’s weaknesses in pass rushing and running. With fellow signer Stephen “Stove” Richardson joining a rapidly evolving group of sophomore positions, it looked like the defensive line would finally have some teeth.

Then, even before training camp, Richardson was lost for the year. And 29-year-old Barron was right behind after undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason, while former Montrealer Alouette lost stability in his ankle when he was training in the offseason. I felt there X-rays showed healthy bones, but MRIs showed worn cartilage and problems with balance and mobility.

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“At first I thought he was going to come back in the middle of training camp, and then training camp was over. Coach Rick Campbell said. “So it took longer than anyone expected, including him.”


next game

Saturday

Calgary Stampeders vs. BC Lions

7 pm, BC Place. tv set: TSN. wireless: AM730.


While the Lions got off to a good start with a 9-3 record, Barron was stuck on the sidelines. No games, no practices. While the team was out on the practice field, dancing and joking to the music playing from the speakers, Barron was by his side, working with resistance bands, balance boards and medicine balls.

While he didn’t feel isolated or excluded, his role as a spectator was “new”, as he dropped the word for the 48th time during Thursday’s debate.

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“It was new to me. I’ve never had to do it this way before.

“I’ve had to rehab before, I’ve been sidelined, but at the beginning of the season it wasn’t so much. This whole season was so refreshing. What I had to do. Everything was something I had never done before.

“And without you, it’s the first time I’m on a team that’s doing well.”

The defense has come a long way this year even without the costly additions of Richardson and Barron.

Even the basic indicators are very different from the previous year.

BC Lions quarterback Mike Riley, 13, hovers over Woody Barron of the Montreal Alouettes after rushing for a first down in the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. lying down
BC Lions quarterback Mike Riley, 13, hovers over Woody Barron of the Montreal Alouettes after rushing for a first down in the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. lying down Photo by Darryl Dyke /canadian press

BC was last in 2021 (23). The season before that, Leo could only boast higher than Montreal’s total of 27, although he scored 28. In 2019, he was also modest overall in run defense with 1,921 yards (third-most). In 2021 he will have 1,471 (4th most).

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In 2022, BC gave up 16 more rushing yards than league leader Hamilton (1,048). Only Saskatchewan (38) and Calgary (37) have more sacks than his BC (35), and both teams have played two more games than the Lions and he has played one more.

Mathieu Betts, who had two sacks and 13 tackles in 19 games in two seasons with Edmonton, has seven sacks this season, along with rookie Sione Teuhema. Sophomore he Obum Gwacham he has five and David Menard both he has five. It is a committee production.

Part of the reason Barron left Montreal was that he felt they were on the right track at BC and that Campbell and co-GM Neil McEvoy felt he was valued. A $190,000 offer will do just that.

The decisive argument, however, was with BC defensive line coach John Bowman, with whom Barron played two years in Montreal.

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And even though he hasn’t played this year, he still feels at home.

“There’s no training camp with them. They go through my head like established inside jokes,” Barron said with a laugh.

“But since I first came here[to date]it’s been such a perfect integration. It’s so easy to feel at home in this locker room.

“When I got here, everyone was already clicking on all the cylinders. And I witnessed the whole process. I think everyone there has the ability to produce and perform.”

Barron’s 2021 numbers at Montreal were modest, with 16 tackles, 6 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 14 games. Still, it wasn’t until last week that Campbell got to see him operating in person with the color of Leo.

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“He looked really good. He looks really fast, he’s primarily an inside guy, but he’s got the versatility to do if you want to put him on the outside.

“If he puts his practice into the game, he will show up[against Calgary]and do something. ing”

The Stampeders boost their league-best rushing offense with Kadeem Carry, who leads all running backs in yards (773), touchdowns (7), yards per carry (6.7), and 100-yard games (3). As a team, Calgary boasts his CFL-high averaging 109.7 yards per game.

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If Barron ever had a chance to return to action, Saturday’s game is it.

However, the veteran lineman was philosophical about returning to the lineup, replacing the injured Teuhema behind Nathan Cherry.

“I’m taking my hands off the wheel and seeing it all,” Baron said. “I think my role will be revealed, but it’s all different from my point of view.

“It’s different in a lot of ways. Probably in all ways,” he added, comparing it to his only other CFL team. “My approach to the situation is kind of unconventional. Respect your place, maybe you’re chasing where you think you should be.

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“Trying to be perfect is hard enough. The game is hard enough without going against your projection of yourself. There is perfection in releasing a little bit of control. And instead of trying to pursue this perfect ideal of yourself, you may not find it anyway.

jadams@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/TheRealJJAdams


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The surprisingly strong BC Lions defensive line will be strengthened by the return of Woody Barron.

Source link The surprisingly strong BC Lions defensive line will be strengthened by the return of Woody Barron.

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