What about the Bombers' D?

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:50 AM ET

If the 2009 Winnipeg Blue Bombers were a criminal trial, it would have been the longest trial in legal history.

That’s because the defence never rested (insert rim shot here).

A popgun offence meant the dirty dozen were on the field for what seemed like forever.

Now, we all know the Bomber offence is going to be a much more interesting beast this season, a head coach who actually seems to know what he’s doing and Buck Pierce at quarterback will see to that.

If they don’t hold the ball for at least 30 minutes a game, I’ll be surprised.

But what about that defence?

A new co-ordinator and three new starters, two of them in the secondary, raise just enough questions to make a press box critic go, ‘Hmmm.’

Start with the guy designing and calling the plays.

Kavis Reed didn’t exactly bring the resume of all resumes in here, his claim to infamy being the guy who wore the goat horns in that 13th man debacle in last year’s Grey Cup.

As Saskatchewan’s special teams co-ordinator, Reed took the brunt of the blame for the penalty that cost the Riders a sip from the silver mug, and it likely meant he’d have to leave Regina and start over someplace else.

So what does new Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice do? He brings Reed over here to run his defence, a job Reed hasn’t exactly excelled at in the past, if you look at the statistics.

In four years of co-ordinating defences for Hamilton and Toronto, Reed’s teams finished last in points allowed three times, second-last once. In yards allowed, they were ranked fourth, sixth, last and seventh.

So I asked Reed, who’s also LaPolice’s assistant head coach, about these rather unsettling numbers.

“I’m not going to defend my record,” Reed began, although it wasn’t long before he did a bit of defending, after all.

“This is a league that is very transient,” he said. “This is a league that’s not about patience. I’ve been in situations where we’re building teams or we’ve been in transition. And that’s the luck of the draw. I’m not going to look at my record and say that I’m a bad coach. I’m a teacher, and that’s what I’m always going to do.”

That’s probably the best word to describe Reed: teacher.

During a conversation with the man, it doesn’t take long to realize he’s a deep thinker, using the words ‘cerebral’ and ‘IQ’ to describe players instead of the usual football lingo.

His students, young and old, rave about the guy’s mind.

Veteran D-lineman Doug Brown, you’ll recall, was a huge booster of Greg Marshall, the former Bomber defensive guru now in Hamilton.

But he’s giving Reed’s concepts two thumbs up.

“I didn’t know Kavis from a mosquito in Winnipeg when he got here,” Brown said. “The thing that’s really jumped off the page with me is how intelligent he is. He’s a mastermind of what he’s doing. It’s some impressive stuff. We just have to take it off the paper, now.”

Reed is obviously smart enough to know inserting two newbies in his backfield — Brandon Stewart and Alex Suber are expected to make their first starts in Friday’s season opener against the Ticats — could lead to some interesting moments against wizened veteran Kevin Glenn, the Tabbies quarterback.

“These are young guys that understand football,” the coach said. “They are guys that are going to make some mistakes, but we have to be patient with them... and make sure they learn from their mistakes.”

But you said it yourself, coach — this isn’t a business that condones patience.

Particularly in a place where it’s been 19 years between sips.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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