NEWS
11/09/2016 13:06 EST | Updated 11/10/2017 00:12 EST

Glenn says Bombers quarterback Nichols has tools and ability to lead a team

WINNIPEG — Kevin Glenn has been in the CFL quarterback fraternity for 16 seasons.

He's played with and against dozens of pivots and has a good handle on what makes the best ones tick.

Glenn, who will back up Winnipeg Blue Bombers starter Matt Nichols in the West Division semifinal against the B.C. Lions, offered his assessment Wednesday of the teammate he's happy to guide and support. After all, he sees a little bit of himself in Nichols.

"He's a very studious guy of the game," Glenn said after a team practice. "Also, he has the tools and the ability to lead a team. His demeanour, his attitude, he's not just a guy that talks about it. He's a doer, too."

Glenn, 37, joined the Bombers Sept. 11 in a trade with Montreal, a return to the club he played for from 2004-08.

He knew about the opportunity Nichols ran with this season, replacing former starter Drew Willy when the Blue Bombers were 1-4 and leading them to an 11-7 record that ended a four-year playoff drought.

Willy was traded to Toronto the same day Glenn arrived back in Winnipeg. Glenn has watched Nichols closely on and off the field.

Nichols gets to the stadium early, asks teammates their perspectives while watching film, meets with coaches and stays past the 4 1/2-hour workday rule.

"All that kind of stuff plays into a guy being successful," Glenn said. "That was one of the things that continued to keep me in the league.

"I wasn't the tallest, I wasn't the strongest, I wasn't the fastest. But that preparation that I put myself through during the week gave me that opportunity to be successful and I can see that in Matt, too."

Glenn has only thrown four passes for the Bombers this season, completing two. He's ready to take the reins if needed in Sunday's road game, but is also happy to offer the experience he's gathered from 251 regular-season games and 12 starts in 16 playoff contests, including a Grey Cup loss with Calgary in 2012.

"Right now, we're going to concentrate on Matt," Glenn said. "Matt's the guy. Everybody plays a part, though."

It's a mutual admiration club for the duo.

"It's been big," Nichols said of the difference Glenn has made to him. "He's a guy that just sees a game so well. He's seen every little thing, every possible thing a defence can throw at you.

"Whether it's in the film room when we're game planning or even on the sidelines, if I come off and am a little confused by a look or I thought I saw something different, he can really break it down and explain to me what he saw.

"I have full trust in his knowledge and what he tells me on the sidelines."

Nichols, 29, started his career with Edmonton in 2010, but suffered two serious injuries and never wrestled the starter's job from Mike Reilly.

The Redding, Calif., native was traded to Winnipeg in September 2015 after a knee injury ended Willy's season.

Bombers receiver Darvin Adams has seen Nichols grow into his leadership role.

"You have to be inside the huddle just to know," Adams said. "You can tell by the look in his eyes that he means business.

"You know that he wants to win and has that competitive spirit as a winner. It feels good to play for a guy like that."

Nichols has completed 327 of 471 pass attempts this year for 3,666 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games.

"Everything I do with my life this week is focused on making sure I go out and play a great game for my teammates this weekend," Nichols said.

Winnipeg hasn't won the Grey Cup since 1990.

"We want to continue this season, continue this journey together," Nichols added. "This first game is the stepping stone to getting to where we want to be."