CIS-Con: B.C. Lions adhere to the 3-2-1-1 model of Canadian starters

(Over the next few days, this blog will do its best to give a rundown on how CIS alumni figure into the grand scheme for each CFL team. Friendly reminder: the ratio in the CFL requires each team to have seven 'nationals' among the 24 defensive and offensive starters. It should be 10, five on each side of the ball, but one battle at a time ... one battle at a time.)

Basically, B.C. is playing a 3-2-1-1 alignment with their national starters — the three interior O-linemen, two receivers, a D-tackle and Mike Edem of Calgary Dinos fame as the safety.

That is sub-optimal, as the kids say, and more than a bit of an indictment of how the Lions' depth has ebbed since the dizzying high of that Grey Cup victory way back in 2011. They started the season with a 20-18 home victory against Calgary by the margin of Chris Rainey housing a 72-yard punt return, but there is a reason they are not expected to contend for any big prizes.

One positive note for the Lions is that Charles Vaillancourt (Laval) has locked down the starting right guard job on merit. The left unsaid is that B.C. has already moved on from several of their '14 and '15 choices.

Group by group, here is how CIS alumni factor in for the Lions. Also, kudos to the CFL for uploading the weekly depth charts.

Receivers / backs — Veteran Shawn Gore (Bishop's) is one of the starting outside receivers, with third-year Stephen Adekolu (also Bishop's) backing up. Gore, now in his seventh season, can work from the slot, or from the line of scrimmage, and can even carry the ball on designed misdirections. Fullback Nathan O'Hallaran (Windsor) is one of two 2016 draft picks who made his debut last weekend.

Shaquille Johnson (McGill and Western) is also on the practice roster. Keep an eye peeled to see whether the 23-year-old wideout, who was the Peter Gorman Trophy winner in 2012, gets on the field.

Offensive line — Vaillancourt and centre Cody Husband (UBC) are side-by-side in the interior. Kirby Fabien (Calgary) and Tim O'Neill (also Calgary) are the interior reserves.

Defensive front seven — Thanks to commentators who believe repetitiveness is Job One, Jason Arakgi (McMaster) is synonymous with special-teams banditry. Adrian Clarke (Bishop's) is the other Canadian linebacker, while David Ménard (Montréal) is the depth guy at D-end. Boyd Richardson (UBC) is the next Canadian up after Ménard.

Defensive secondary — Edem, who was in Hamilton last season, is patrolling the deep middle for what is expected to be one of the CFL's best secondaries.

Specialists — Hey, there is Mike Benson (Acadia) holding down the long snapping. That sort of makes up for the franchise of Lui Passaglia having an international as the kicker.

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