Trio to lead Blue defence

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence is going to be run by committee, but final decisions, for the time being, will go through head coach Jim Daley.

Defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust left the team on Saturday to tend to a family medical emergency in New Jersey and isn't expected back at all this season.

Defensive backs coach Dave Easley, defensive line boss John Kropke and new linebackers coach Urban Bowman will all contribute in the areas in which they specialize, but Daley said it's important that there be one man in charge.

And for now, he will be that man.

"That's exactly what you have to do," Daley said yesterday as his players enjoyed a day off in the wake of their 38-17 win over Ottawa on Friday night. "That's why initially I'll be hands on in terms of making sure that we are on the same page. It's a role I had to play on offence when I took over (last season).

FIFTH STINT WITH BOMBERS

"Hopefully I can facilitate and help Dave and John and Urban in that regard, and we'll just see where the structure takes us from there."

Daley is no stranger to running a defence. His second coaching gig was as the defensive co-ordinator at Ottawa's St. Pius X High School from 1978 to 1981.

In the CFL, Daley guided the defence in Saskatchewan (1994 and '95) and in Calgary (2003).

"I don't want to be (the co-ordinator) for long, but I will try to work with these guys on defence initially, because it's a whole new process when you lose your co-ordinator mid-season," he said.

As for Bowman, this will be his fifth stint with the Bombers since 1985. He was the interim head coach in 1992 when he took the Bombers to the Grey Cup. When Daley replaced Dave Ritchie last August, his first move was to hire Bowman as special teams coach.

"He will be at home here in five minutes," Daley said.

Bowman won't have much say in game planning, since he hasn't been here all season, but Daley said he will be able to help out elsewhere.

"We certainly know he can help with the individual technique work and all the breakdowns of the opponent," Daley said. "That would really help in terms of our preparation."

Daley said he might wear a headset on the sideline, but only to confer with his assistants about adjustments.

The play calls can be made from the sideline.

In the end, though, the head coach noted it's up to the players to keep playing the way they have been during their two-game winning streak.

And he believes they'll play hard and plan well as a tribute to Rust and the work he's done.

"The guys feel a very big ownership (of the defence), which is a very good mindset," Daley said. "And they'll have a tremendous amount of input into how we evolve.

"... This defence will evolve and has evolved. And some of the things we were thinking of doing with it a month ago as we got more familiar with it, we still want to try to do.

"There'll be an evolution, but certainly this is our defence, and this is what we want to keep playing."


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