June 17, 2019 7:28 pm
Updated: June 17, 2019 7:30 pm

Offensive explosion last Friday surprises some Edmonton Eskimos

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris (7) and Kenny Stafford (8) celebrate a touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during second half CFL action in Edmonton on Friday June 14, 2019.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.
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The 2019 edition of the Edmonton Eskimos has plenty of new faces. In training camp, the offence in particular talked about needing time to come together and gel.

Cue the season-opener last Friday where the offence put up 607 yards of offence in a 32-25 win over the Montreal Alouettes. It’s the first time in 22 years the Eskimos surpassed the 600-yard mark and just the seventh time in franchise history.

Receiver Ricky Collins Jr. led all receivers with 175 yards on nine catches and says the output surprised him.

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“It kind of confirmed some things that we knew but at the same time, it was surprising given the fact we’ve only been together since training camp,” Collins Jr. said.

“We’re still getting used to each other so I would say it was surprising.”

READ MORE: Harris leads Edmonton to 32-25 win over Alouettes in Eskimos’ home opener

Quarterback Trevor Harris recorded 447 yards passing and three touchdown passes; two to Kenny Stafford, who recorded 98 receiving yards, and one to running back C.J. Gable, who recorded 154 rushing yards, along with 29 receiving yards. Harris also recorded a one-yard touchdown, taking the opportunity away from Gable, who joked about it on Monday after practice.

“He’s a great quarterback I just don’t like how he takes my touchdowns at the one-yard line now. I thought that was gone,” Gable laughed.

“We might need to talk about that one later.”

Harris replied with a laugh: “Yeah, I’ve been in the weight room so I let C.J. know who our power running back is and it’s No. 7, not him.”

In all seriousness, Harris says he’s impressed with Gable because he has bought in to the most important aspect in being a CFL running back and it’s not running.

“The first thing they ever told a running back when I was in the CFL was you protect Ricky Ray and then you run with the ball and catch with the ball,” Harris said.

“At first you protect Ricky Ray and I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve never heard that before.’ In this system, C.J. fits that mold. He protects really well and it just so happens he’s super special — making somebody miss in the open field.

“He’s a really underrated receiver too and we’re blessed to have him.”

Listen: Eskimos starting quarterback Trevor Harris touches on Mike Reilly’s return on Friday and the offence putting up 607 yards of offence in a 32-25 win over the Montreal Alouettes last Friday.

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Unamba injured

Last Friday’s win came at a cost as linebacker Don Umamba suffered an upper-body injury on the final play of the first half.

Head coach Jason Maas said after practice on Monday that Unamba had an M.R.I. scheduled to determine the extent of the injury.

The Eskimos signed defensive back Nick Taylor who was at practice on Monday. Taylor was released following training camp but him being familiar with the team and the system is a big reason the team brought him back, according to Maas.

“If we have injuries, we’re going to our practice roster and then we’re going to call people that have been here and we know,” Maas said.

“Ultimately our locker room is very important to us. What we preach, people need to understand it and get it, and Nick gets it.”

In 15 games last season, Taylor recorded 57 defensive tackles, five pass knockdowns, one interception and one quarterback sack.

The Eskimos will host the B.C. Lions on Friday night in the return of former starting quarterback Mike Reilly.

Kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 7 p.m. Catch the game live on 630 CHED following live coverage of the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.

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