Leaky boat sinking

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

So Doug Berry's sitting in the front row of the team bus in frigid Calgary, Saturday, getting ready to leave the hotel for the airport.

Next thing he knows, the bus starts acting like his football team.

"We're ready to go, and the bus driver can't close the door," the Winnipeg Blue Bomber head coach recalled, during his daily session with the media here, yesterday. "It's hydraulic, and he can't keep it closed. He says, 'I'll go in and get some rope.' He comes back out with Christmas ribbon."

Turns out Christmas ribbon works on a hydraulic bus door about as well as the emergency replacements on Berry's offensive line held up on Friday.

"So he's pulling it closed while I've got my thumb on it (the door-closed button)," Berry said. "Finally he gets this ribbon tied around it and he thinks he's tied this knot, and he goes, 'OK, let go.' So I let go, and the ribbon just goes pfffffft. And the bus door was open again. He says, 'OK, I'm goin' underneath.' He goes underneath, gets in his luggage and pulls out his necktie! Comes back with a necktie! I'm tellin' ya."

At this point, Berry got more involved -- kind of like what he tried to do with his offence a few weeks back.

"So I'm going, 'Look, I'll tie the knots this time.' So I tie the knot here and we do a little loop knot at the top. And we got the door so that when it springs open the tie is stretching, but the door is open only about four inches."

Good enough to make it to the Calgary airport, right?

Only problem is, the bus roof springs a leak on the way, no doubt reminding Berry of his defence the last few weeks.

"All the way out there... water is dripping off the roof. I'm sitting there going, what the...? You put your hand up top, and the water is just pouring out of the roof of the bus."

At this point, the coach must have felt like he was back in the fourth quarter of Friday's 43-9 loss, wondering what else can go wrong.

"We park the bus at the airport," Berry continued. "And I go to pull the door in a little bit, it gets away from me and snaps the tie in half! He goes, 'Don't worry about the tie.' "

Berry probably won't, because he's got plenty of other things to worry about.

Asked yesterday what's wrong with his team, the coach needed a full three minutes to cover it all. By the time he was done, the only thing he'd left out was the colour of the uniforms.

"I'm embarrassed for us all," Berry said. "I just never would have presumed that we could be that bad in all three phases of the game at the same time."

How can a team that showed so much promise early in the season fall apart so completely?

On offence, the Bombers don't seem to have a clue. On defence, it looks like they don't care. And their special teams were one, big brain cramp on Friday.

INJURIES A FACTOR

No doubt injuries have been a factor on offence. But a factor is not an excuse to lay an egg every week.

Defensively, Berry figures his team missed something like 16 tackles on Friday, enough to choke a horse, or at least leave Calgary's touchdown horse gasping for air.

And what, exactly, were the lame-brains on special teams doing, watching the Stamps' Brian Clark swat a short kickoff out of bounds? George Dubya thinks on his feet better than that.

Put it all together, and this team has sprung more leaks than the roof at the Bomber office.

Oh, I didn't mention that?

The entrance to the media room where Berry answers questions has several leaks in it, including one right above the door.

And so this damp, cold bus ride of a season continues.

Berry's challenge now is to somehow keep the door open. The door to the playoffs, that is.

I don't think a necktie is going to do it, either.

Keep this up, though, and Bomber fans might be calling for 42 of them.


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