Changes in works for defence

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:27 PM ET

A new coach means new philosophies.

New philosophies mean new players.

And new players mean Bombers GM Brendan Taman is going to be looking for something a little different early next year when he goes on scouting missions.

Doug Berry, who was hired as Winnipeg's new coach on Thursday, wants to utilize a pressure defence similar to the one his former team, the Montreal Alouettes, employed with much success.

The Bombers allowed the most total and passing yards in CFL history during the 2005 season, and the linebackers and defensive backs are primarily to blame for that.

"We ain't gonna play with the same linebackers we've played with, meaning body types," Taman said Thursday. "We played with three real linebackers. We're the only team that does that -- or did."

Most CFL linebackers are smaller versions of their NFL cousins and have an easier time dropping back into pass coverage. The Bombers will follow suit.

"I'm going to be looking at strong safeties more than I used to," Taman said.

MORE CHANGES: Taman is examining a couple options that will allow him to concentrate more on scouting.

Without the aid of an assistant GM, Taman has been forced in recent years to do office-related tasks that have taken away from his real responsibility of finding talent.

Taman said he is unlikely to hire an actual assistant, but one option is having trainer Ross Hodgkinson do "less training stuff and more football ops stuff."

If the Bombers were to conduct a free-agent camp in the U.S., for instance, Taman would have Hodgkinson set it up and run it as well. That would allow Taman, Berry and the coaching staff to concentrate solely on the actual scouting.

Another option is hiring two primary U.S. scouts only for the times of the year when talent is on display. They could also run a free-agent camp if Taman decides to go that route.

"We don't need to change the way we've been doing it," Taman said. "We need to make it better."

Taman added that Berry will be "majorly involved" in scouting.

SOLID ENDORSEMENT: Like Berry, Danny Maciocia began his football coaching career as a volunteer.

Like Berry, Maciocia spent time with the Montreal Alouettes.

Like Berry, Maciocia was given an opportunity to be a head coach without head coaching experience.

Bomber fans hope their similarities don't end there, because Maciocia just guided the Edmonton Eskimos to a Grey Cup title in his rookie season.

Maciocia, who worked with Berry for three years in Montreal and considers him one of his best friends in the CFL, feels they are similar coaches.

"Him and I, from the most part, are cut from the same fabric," Maciocia said. "He's a players coach. He encourages interaction, but there will be times that he'll put his foot down and say, 'This is what we're doing.'

"Personally, I think it's a great hire."

LATE HITS: Berry and his wife, Carol, are considering selling their home in Massachusetts and buying a house in Winnipeg. His contract is reportedly a three-year deal with an annual salary of around $180,000 ... Today is the deadline for fans to renew their Bomber season tickets and reserve that same seat for the 2006 Grey Cup.


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