Currently mired in a four-game losing streak, Edmonton Elks head coach and offensive co-ordinator Jamie Elizondo made a bold move on Monday.
He’s sitting his number one quarterback Trevor Harris for Friday’s return match against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Taylor Cornelius and Dakota Prukop will be the quarterback duo on Friday; Harris will not dress.
Elizondo says a variety of factors went into the decision.
“We’re not getting the play that we need from the quarterback position,” Elizondo said.
“It’s not just (Harris). Any time you’re 2-6, it’s everybody. We just feel right now that (Cornelius and Prukop) give us the best combination to be able to get the ball down the field, get into rhythm, and then do some things.”
Harris struggled in a 30-3 loss to the Bombers last Friday in Winnipeg, going nine of 21 for just 87 yards passing. Harris was pulled for Cornelius in the fourth quarter and says the loss was a low point for him and the Elks this season.
“It just wasn’t a great performance for us on offence,” Harris said.
“We couldn’t get anything going, we couldn’t get into rhythm, and we all made our mistakes. I need to be accountable for the mistakes I made and need to be better. Obviously, we’re going to do everything we can to fix some stuff on offence so we can get this thing going. We have too much talent on our roster to be stagnant.”
Cornelius took the majority of first team reps on Monday with Prukop taking the other reps while Harris only took part in individual drills. Harris isn’t injured, so him being taken out of the mix for Friday’s game is strictly a coach decision.
Cornelius will start in his third game of the season. He came off the bench in relief of Harris during last Friday’s loss in Winnipeg. So far this season, Cornelius has passed for 624 yards and has thrown three touchdown passes to six interceptions.
Cornelius is looking forward to being under centre again this Friday.
“You never dream of being the backup quarterback,” Cornelius said.
“Obviously, I have a good opportunity now to play, and hopefully, we’ll play great.”
In six games this season, Harris is fifth among quarterbacks in passing with 1,568 yards. He has thrown six touchdown passes to five interceptions.
Those numbers are not at the level we are used to seeing Harris at, but Jamie Elizondo says with his team’s backs against the wall at 2-6, the desperation level is at its peak.
“Really tough with especially how much I care about Trevor and the relationship that goes back years,” Elizondo said.
“It’s not an easy decision, but at this point, it’s a team decision meaning. We have to put the needs of the team first aside from my feelings for him and my relationship with him.”
In other news, the Elks signed 11-year CFL veteran long-snapper Martin Bedard as regular long-snapper Chad Rempel is dealing with an injury. The 37-year-old Bedard is a two-time Grey Cup champion (2009, 2010), has played in 179 career CFL games and has recorded 68 special teams tackles. Bedard had announced his retirement on July 1.
Also, defensive end Chris Casher has been removed from the Elks’ suspended list and has been placed on the team’s practice roster. Casher spent the 2019 season with the Calgary Stampeders and recorded 34 defensive tackles and seven quarterback sacks. He was released by the B.C. Lions during their training camp this season.
The Elks will host the Blue Bombers on Friday night on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. Kick-off will be at 7 p.m. 630 CHED will have live coverage starting with Countdown to Kick-off starting at 5:30 p.m.