Miller replaces Presbury as defensive line starter


The Baltimore CFLs were mixing and patching in the defensive line yesterday.

Tackle Robert Presbury became the odd man out when the team began preparations for Saturday's game against the Sacramento Gold Miners.

He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Scott Miller.

Not long into practice, tackle Jearld Baylis' cranky left knee became an issue. Baylis felt pain in the knee after running two striders -- across the field and back -- and stopped running at that point.

Baylis missed last week's game in Shreveport with a torn right biceps, and had a week to rest the knee.

"The arm is fine, but the knee is sore," said coach Don Matthews. "If it becomes inflamed, we may have to take him off [the active roster]. He's practicing like he's going to play now, though.

"I am concerned. It's worse than it was in Regina [Saskatchewan, last year]. We'll try to get through this year and look at it at the end of the year."

Baylis, whose knee has been problematic since he was leg-whipped in Week 2, said he could play with the knee, but it would reduce his effectiveness.

"I'm very competitive," he said. "It's hard to think about sitting out.

"It didn't feel good today, especially after the rest. I expected it to feel better. This was the worst it's felt."

Baylis' spot in the lineup last week was filled by Miller, who had a sack, knocked down a pass and forced a fumble. That performance was good enough to elevate him past Presbury at the other tackle. Presbury had two tackles and recovered a fumble in the 28-16 win over Shreveport.

"The reason Miller is getting a start is because he had a good game," said defensive line coach Marty Long. "Don looks at production. It wasn't that Presbury had a bad game. He had a good game, too."

Presbury, who has six sacks in nine starts, still will play in certain defenses.

"They're saying I ain't getting it done," he said. "That's what they're telling me."

Presbury, a native of Aberdeen, played the entire game lined up over the center, where he was double-teamed.

"You have to analyze what you expect of the nose guard getting double-teamed every play," he said. "Scott played good. He deserves to have a chance." Quarterback Tracy Ham was back running the first-team offense yesterday after a week off to rest his torn right quadriceps muscle.

Matthews pronounced Ham healthy and said he'd start this week.

"I'm expecting to do what I normally do when I play," said Ham, who didn't stray far from the pocket yesterday. "I'm healthy, 100 percent."

Meanwhile, Shawn Jones worked the second-team offense and John Congemi threw with the scout team. Congemi still is experiencing pain from the bruised ribs he suffered two weeks ago.

The dreadlock look

Slotback Shawn Beals, held out last week with a strained hamstring, was back with the first team yesterday -- and so was his look-alike doll.

Offensive tackle Neal Fort bought a wooden doll with dreadlocks similar to Beals' before the Shreveport game. When the team rushed for 331 yards, the doll became a fixture for Fort and the other superstitious linemen.

"It's our good-luck voodoo doll," Fort said.


The CFLs have waived three off their practice roster -- running back Sean Burwell, linebacker Melendez Byrd and defensive tackle Tommy Fagan. . . . Receiver Joe Washington is headed back to the practice roster this week, and if Baylis can play, defensive tackle Malcolm Showell will be deactivated, too. . . . In an attempt to improve his conditioning, rush end Mike Kerr said he's running a mile in the morning and evening. "I had a rude awakening as far as my conditioning," he said of his Baltimore debut last week. . . . Rush end Elfrid Payton (knee) did not work out yesterday as a precautionary measure, but expects to return to practice today. . . . Linebacker William King, who left the team last month only to return, has quit the team again, this time apparently for good.

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