Alex Brink is always confident in his abilities, but now his teammates are becoming believers, too.
The third-year Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback is making his third straight start Friday when the Bombers (1-4) host the Montreal Alouettes (2-3).
Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice said Brink’s confidence isn’t changing much with each start, but there is a different vibe around him.
“I think the confidence of the people around him has changed,” LaPolice said after Thursday’s walk-through. “And I think that’s what a quarterback’s job is. A quarterback is supposed to get everybody to believe, and believe he’s going to take you to the promise land.
“Alex is a very confident individual . . . When he makes plays and performs well, that gets everybody around him believing in him and wanting to play hard for him.”
Brink, 27, has replaced veteran Buck Pierce, who may be out until September with an ankle injury.
The Eugene, Ore., native helped lead the Bombers to their first victory of the season last week against Edmonton, a 23-22 win that was preserved after a last-minute Eskimos’ fumble.
Brink completed 26-of-38 pass attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions and rushed six times for 57 yards. His performance also included a 40-yard Hail Mary TD pass to Chris Matthews as time expired on the first half.
Veteran receiver Terrence Edwards likes what he’s seeing from Brink.
“He’s definitely more comfortable,” Edwards said. “Knowing that you’re going to be the starter for an extended period of time, he can come in and put his own stamp on this offence.”
And that stamp is a bit different than Pierce or backup Joey Elliott, he noted.
“(Brink) brings versatility, I think,” Edwards said. “He brings a guy that has a real live, strong arm. I think he can make all the throws that is necessary to make.”
He also knows his stuff and is mentally strong.
“He’s a smart and cerebral guy that goes out there and makes plays when he’s called to,” Edwards said.
“But I think one of the biggest things is that he doesn’t dwell on the last play. Some guys go and throw two picks and go in there and get shell-shocked and don’t want to zip the ball in there anymore, but he stands in there tall and makes the right reads and makes the throw that he needs to make.”
Brink said he feels no different whether he starts or waits in the wings as a backup.
“I think my preparation is the same,” he said. “From a confidence level, it’s always good.
“As a player, as a quarterback, to get that first win under your belt, for me that was certainly nice. But at the same time, my mentality is the same.
“I’ve always had a lot of confidence in myself and so I’m just excited for another opportunity on Friday.”
Brink will have to translate that excitement into some early points against an Alouettes squad that may have lost two in row, but could bust out big any time.
In the Bombers’ first game against Montreal at Molson Stadium on July 6, the Alouettes rode running back Brandon Whitaker to a 41-30 victory. The tailback rushed 16 times for 98 yards and one TD and also racked up 11 catches for 137 yards and a pair of TDs.
Montreal’s 551 yards of net offence was the most yards Winnipeg had allowed in a game since 2005.
Notes — Winnipeg will have four changes from last week’s roster due to injury and personal reasons. Defensive tackle Bryant Turner got permission to go home to Alabama for his grandmother’s funeral on Saturday. He’ll be replaced by rookie import Brandon Collier . . . Friday’s contest marks the 500th regular-season game at Canad Inns Stadium, which should face the wrecking ball after the season if the team’s new stadium is ready at the University of Manitoba.