Life of Mike Reilly goes back to backup with Travis Lulay healthy
Quarterback understands his role when Lions' top pivot is ready to roll
Back to being whole again after a shoulder injury, Travis Lulay is ready to start doing some heavy lifting for the B.C. Lions.
If all goes according to plan, Mike Reilly, the team’s backup quarterback, won’t see the field again, except in short-yardage situations or as the holder on field goals.
While fading into the background again doesn’t do much for his personal career advancement, Reilly realizes Lulay behind centre is what his teammates and Lions fans want to see.
“I’ve reverted back to my normal role during the course of the season, for sure,” Reilly said Friday. “Travis has proved that he’s definitely healthy. And when he’s definitely healthy, he’s shown by the award he won last year (most outstanding player), and what he’s done this year, that he’s the best player in the league.
“Now, it’s the same song and dance for me, as it’s been all season. My role is to be his backup guy, and to be that second set of eyes and ears.”
The Lions will have their senses at the ready Sunday afternoon when they convene at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster to see who emerges from the West Division semifinal game between the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Coach Mike Benevides says it’s more of a social affair, not an analytical conflab, before the team starts preparing in earnest for its next opponent on Nov. 18 — the West Final at BC Place Stadium — with film work and team meetings on Monday.
One thing the Lions will be is loose and rested. By the time Monday morning rolls around, the West Division pennant winners will have been on the practice field only twice in the previous eight days. But those two practice sessions have been enough for Reilly to be convinced that Lulay is not just a reasonable facsimile of the player he was before his Oct. 12 injury. He is the team’s meal ticket for a second consecutive Grey Cup.
“During this week, we’ve had two practices, full speed with our No. 1 offence against our No. 1 defence, all day,” Reilly explained. “Travis has been putting the ball into some tight little windows, and throwing with some good zip. I think he’s as ready to go now as we would have been regardless of the injury. Now that he has a game under his belt (Lulay played the entire first quarter Nov. 3 against Saskatchewan), he’s taken some hits, run the offence, and nothing happened, he knew he could push it harder. I think he’s ready.”
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