Randle has a handle on Alouettes ground attack
BY DON CAMPBELL
Special to the Sun
Chris Randle broke into the CFL in 2012 as a teammate of the indestructible Jon Cornish and had a great view from the Calgary Stampeders bench as Cornish rushed for 1,457 and 1,813 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Moving on to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for his next five seasons, Randle watched Andrew Harris grind out 1,035 and 1,390 yards in 2017 and 2018.
And when he wasn’t catching his breath on the bench, the Ottawa Redblacks defensive back was busy helping defend against the best backs in the league over that period of time.
So the first-year Redblack knows a thing or two about standout running backs and is well aware of the challenge the Redblacks defensive unit faces when William Stanback and the Montreal Alouettes visit TD Place Saturday afternoon in a 4 o’clock kickoff.
“He’s very explosive … with great vision,” said Randle Wednesday as the Redblacks continued preparations for their upcoming matchup with a seemingly rapidly-improving Alouettes squad. “I think … he’s just an impact player.”
“He can do it in all phases of the game. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He can jump cut and hit you outside or inside.”
“I think our whole defence has to work together to try and stop him. No one player can take it upon themselves to try and stop him. It’s going to take a collective effort.”
“And everyone is going to have to be assignment sound. That’s the most important thing. I think everyone trusts each other to do that.”
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats found out last week, containing Stanback is easier said than done as the former collegiate star with, first the Virginia Union Panthers, and later the University of Central Florida Knights, had his professional breakout game in his 19th with the Alouettes.
The onetime Green Bay Packers practice roster player (2017) rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns, accounting for 44 percent of the Alouettes total offence and 76 percent of their yards along the ground.
Stanback also became the first Al to rush for 200 yards in a game since Hall of Fame back Mike Pringle did so in 1998.
And in 19 CFL games, really the equivalent of a full season, Standback has 896 yards rushing and a 7.2 yards-per-carry average.
But with Als relying even more heavily on him, especially after the tumultuous end to training camp where Khari Jones took over as head coach, Stanback could be headed for 1,000 yards by the regular season’s mid-point.
Stanback has also breathed new life into the Als season that seemed dysfunctional through training camp and the first week of two of the regular season.
The Redblacks won the season series last year 2-1, winning games by 10 and seven points before losing the final day of August 21-11.
The two teams meet again August 2 at McGill Stadium.
“I think everyone wants to win every game,” said Randle. “But playing an East Division opponent means just that much more.
“We want to win the division. But just getting a win is more important right now.”
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