Bombers blasted

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Doug Berry read the riot act to his team yesterday.

Just don't expect him to peel the paint off the walls again anytime soon.

"When I speak, and it's going to be in a mode of correction, I want to do it just one time with emphasis and let them know that this is serious," the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach said yesterday.

The Bombers (6-7) are only two points out of first place in the East Division, but it seems like they're about 100 behind after having lost five of their last six.

Last Friday's dreadful 43-9 loss to the Calgary Stampeders was the straw that broke the camel's back, so Berry gave his lungs a workout yesterday.

"I think they got the message," he said. "The point came across."

The players can make a statement of their own on Sunday when they travel to Montreal to take on the Alouettes, who are tied atop the East with the Toronto Argonauts at 7-5 but have lost five in a row.

Berry threw two intriguing stats at his players yesterday. First, their turnover ratio has gone from plus-5 to minus-7 in the last five games, which means they've turned the ball over 12 more times than they've gotten it back.

The other number was 258, also known as Calgary's rushing total on Friday night. Berry subtly reminded the defence that it surrendered a total of 222 rushing yards in the first six games of the season.

"Wasn't it back in the first six games that we'd defy a team to go for it on third-and-one?" Berry noted. "Because we were kicking their ass with what? Attitude! We were saying, 'Go ahead! Bring it on! Let me see what you got!' "

As dismal as things may seem right now, a first-round playoff bye remains well within grasp.

"It's still there," Berry said. "... Two weeks from now we could be in first place. Say what you want, but that's the reality. We haven't been doing our job to get there, but from this point on we can."

OOPS: Berry admitted yesterday he made a mistake when he moved Kyries Hebert from safety to linebacker in place of the struggling Donnavan Carter two games ago.

"The experiment didn't work, and that's (on) us as coaches," Berry said. "We were doing it at a time where we thought, 'Hey, if we can get this right for the last five or six games, we're going to be something on wheels.' But it didn't work."

Hebert was back at safety yesterday.

LATE HITS: The CFL trading deadline came and went last night without Winnipeg making a move ... The Bombers practised with three import O-linemen yesterday, but Berry said that's only in the testing stage ... DT Jon Oosterhuis practised at right guard yesterday and could be the seventh O-lineman on Sunday ... DT Ron Warner, S Shawn Gallant and LB Ike Charlton were given yesterday off to soothe minor nicks ... RB/WR Henri Childs (back) is almost 100% healthy ... CB Stanford Samuels (ankle) also watched practice, but his status for this week's game is unknown ... Berry feels for the reeling Alouettes, his former team, but he's not despondent. "It's unfortunate," he said. "I have personal feelings for some of those guys that I know and coached with. I know that they're working hard. I can't answer the issues that they may be having. But I'm not sorry about it."


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