Decisions to make

Jim Daley, who just signed a multi-year pact with the Blue Bombers to be the team's head coach,...

Jim Daley, who just signed a multi-year pact with the Blue Bombers to be the team's head coach, promises to mould the team into a CFL contender. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

The hunt for a Blue February staff has already begun in earnest.

Never one to waste a moment, Jim Daley started discussions with his current assistant coaches just as soon as he was confirmed as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach. And there will be changes.

Daley has already met with offensive co-ordinator Ron Lancaster Jr. and receivers coach Bob Dyce in person and spoke with the rest by telephone. He plans to talk to them all again during the weekend. Then he will cast the net elsewhere, hoping to have his 2005 staff in place by Feb. 1.

"(Secondary coach) Less Browne had told us in April that he would not be back after this season and he confirmed it in November," Daley said yesterday. "So, we already have one opening there. And there's no question that (defensive co-ordinator) Mike Gorton would like to be closer to home in Florida after what he went through last year."

Gorton's home suffered severe hurricane damage and he is re-building it.

But none of the rest want to leave. Nor has Daley told any of them to hit the road -- yet.

"I had told them right after we beat Calgary that they should all look for work because I didn't even know if I would take the job," Daley said. "But I also wanted a chance to bring in my own men if I did so I told them it would be prudent to look for work.

"I was real happy with this group and the work it did under difficult circumstances but the (2005) staff will depend on a combination of skills and, if we can have a staff together by Feb. 1, you can have a good start."

Daley had already fielded calls from interested coaches even before he was confirmed as head man -- some in the CFL and some ex-CFLers now coaching in college. But he has not discussed a position with former Calgary Stampeders head coach Jim Barker -- yet.

"I'm not going to talk to anybody until I talk to all of these guys (current assistants) first," said Daley, who worked for Barker in Calgary. "Jim is under contract to a football school in Calgary and they're doing a booming business. But whether he wants to coach in the CFL again, I don't know that."

If Barker is hired, it would most likely be as the offensive co-ordinator, meaning Lancaster could be left looking. And if Gorton does not return, Daley would need a new defensive co-ordinator. Although Daley declined to name any possibilities, Calgary's Dennis Creehan and Saskatchewan's Ritchie Hall could be among the more interesting candidates.

Daley, by the way, is uncertain whether the number of assistants will be kept at six or if other positions will be created. Dyce handled Canadian college scouting last year.

"Canadian talent is vital and Bobby did a good job of that last year," said Daley, who has also started to address player needs.

HASHMARKS: Bombers GM Brendan Taman has gone to the Vanier Cup to research prospects ... Former Bombers head coach Dave Ritchie has reportedly returned to West Virginia ... OL Matt Sheridan and WR Markus Howell will be signing autographs at the Bomber Store tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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