Miracle worker?

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

And for his next trick, Doug Berry will turn a glass of Winnipeg tap water into Pinot Grigio.

If you're still not convinced, the first-year Blue Bombers boss will feed some 29,000 fans with just two Stadium hot dogs when the Montreal Alouettes pay a visit this Saturday.

Really, is there anything this guy can't do?

Sure, Berry impressed us from the moment he got the job, Dec. 15.

But what he's done over the last month is bordering on miraculous.

The last couple of years it's taken the Bombers to mid-August to get three wins. Under Berry, they've done it in four games.

And here they are, getting ready for a showdown with his old team, first place in the CFL East on the line.

Sure, GM Brendan Taman grabbed the headlines with his contract extension yesterday, but what Berry's done should get consideration from Ripley's.

Come to think of it, no wonder Taman got his extension: he hired the guy.

"That's probably the best move I've made since I've been here," the extended one said.

Hands up if you looked at the schedule and thought the Bombers would be 3-1 at this point.

"No," Taman confessed. "I thought it would take a little longer (to have success). Looking at the first six games, we weren't playing the Sisters of the Poor."

No, and their own reputation was only slightly nastier than that of the Grey Nuns.

Remember how easy it was to move the ball on this team in '05? Kind of like outwitting Paris Hilton, right?

Nowadays, opposing offences can't get a single yard when they need it.

Want to run against them? You'll have better luck running for office -- the Bombers give up a minuscule 1.9 yards per carry, barely 30 per game.

Through the air, they've given up two touchdown passes -- in four games. That usually took all of four minutes last season.

And the Winnipeg offence? It's harder to predict than rain these days.

We know Berry changed a lot of players, but even those who were here a year ago look like different people.

Whatever Kool-Aid the guy's dishing out, they're gulping it down like freshmen at their first beer bash.

"I know some of it has to do with how they're being coached," Berry said. "I mean, I'm not going to say the coaches aren't doing a good job. They are. They're doing a really good job. But the players themselves are committing to what we're doing. If they don't believe they're good, if they're not having fun, they don't buy in."

It's becoming obvious the players, for whatever reason, didn't buy into Jim Daley's program last year.

Then Berry shows up, the wallets come out and it's, like, "How much do you want?"

Taman figures it took all of one day for Berry to get everybody on side.

"When he addressed the team, I heard so many good vibes about his speech," Taman said. "You could sense the guys were going to buy into what he was going to do, right then and there."

Yeah, but you got the sense the Bombers of '97 bought into Jeff Reinebold's plan, too. Which just goes to show there better be some substance behind the swagger.

There's still a long way to go, here. And this team's starting to feel the injury bug after a disgustingly healthy start.

But, against all odds, Berry's crew has actually bought itself some breathing room by clinching the season series against the Argos, and when's the last time you could say that in July?

"The most important thing is that they believe in what we're doing," Berry said.

And then he headed for The Forks, where he was scheduled to walk across the Red River and heal a few dozen people over at the St. Boniface Hospital, before calling it a day.


Videos

Photos