Alexander Hollins may have been destined to become a B.C. Lions receiver.
When it comes to the Lions’ pass-catching crew, Hollins has had the same personal trainer as Keon Hatcher, worked out in the past with Lucky Whitehead and played collegiately against both Josh Pearson and Terry Williams.
“Terry’s from Mississippi, too. Josh is from Alabama. We’re some southern guys. It’s a small world. It’s crazy that we’re all here together now,” Hollins, 25, said.
Hollins made his Lions debut in Saturday’s 23-20 road loss to the Toronto Argonauts and wound up with three catches for 47 yards, highlighted by a leaping 33-yard touchdown reception in double coverage in the second quarter. With the ensuing convert, Toronto’s lead was cut to 13-7.
Hollins also had a 63-yard pass-and-run play in the third quarter wiped out by a B.C. penalty.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Collins, who played collegiately at Eastern Illinois, could get a chance to play again for the Lions Saturday when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers come to B.C Place Stadium, since Whitehead (ankle) is questionable. He didn’t take part in practice on Tuesday.
B.C.’s already missing veteran receiver Bryan Burnham (wrist). Head coach Rick Campbell said earlier this week that Burnham could be back before B.C. wraps up the regular season on Oct. 28 with a trip to Winnipeg. Between those two Blue Bomber games is an Oct. 21 visit to the Edmonton Elks.
“Missing those two guys is very unfortunate for our team, but the standard is high for the receiving group. It’s very high,” said Hollins. “Next man up has to come in and make plays.
“I felt that. I knew that you had to come in and make plays.”
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. B.C. Lions
7 p.m., B.C. Place. TV: TSN. Radio: AM 730.
Hollins is from Yazoo City, Miss., the same hometown as Oakland Raiders great Willie Brown and Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Hollins spent time with both the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns before signing with B.C. as a free agent in February.
“We trust our guys. We trust everyone in our group to come in and make the plays that we need. I feel like Alex did that,” Hatcher said. “He’s good. He’s really good. I’m excited to see him grow and keep this thing rolling.”
Hatcher had three catches for 43 yards against the Argonauts, including his own highlight-reel grab when he hauled in a four-yard pass from quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr., deked out one Toronto defender and then shrugged off another pair on his way to a 31-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that put B.C. up 17-16 with the ensuing convert.
He also had an uncharacteristic drop at the Toronto 27-yard yard line that would have given B.C. a first down on a 3rd-and-7 in the first quarter. Toronto was up 13-0 at the time.
“What was I thinking on my touchdown? Way to make up for the drop,” Hatcher, 28, said. “Plays like that, I expect those plays from myself. That drop I don’t.
“That touchdown was a way to help make up for it.”
Hatcher hopes that the game was a good learning experience for the Lions.
“If you don’t play how you’re supposed to play … play with the right intangibles and right techniques … you’re going to get beat,” Hatcher said.
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