Kudos for coach

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

With one game to go, the rookie head coach has almost doubled the win total of his predecessor.

Doug Berry has led the Blue Bombers to a 9-8 record and Winnipeg's first CFL playoff appearance since 2003. And Winnipeg still has a chance to host a playoff match. Last season, the Bombers were 5-13. That alone should rate Berry consideration for coach of the year.

GAMBLED

"If he's not in the running, I'd like to know why," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "He deserves a lot of consideration but that'll take care of itself."

Taman gambled on hiring Berry, a Montreal assistant who had never been a CFL head man before.

"That was probably my best move," Taman said. "We've got good mojo going right now. We've got a good chance so it's all good."

After beating the Calgary Stampeders soundly, 28-13 on Saturday, Winnipeg can clinch second with a victory over the Lions in B.C. this weekend.

BARRIN BACKER: Taman also put in a word for middle linebacker Barrin Simpson, who will likely be the eastern rep for most outstanding defensive player.

"He's brought our defence from the outhouse to the penthouse -- with help from other guys," he said. "But we said we needed a quarterback on our defence and he's been it."

With another five defensive tackles Saturday, Simpson now has a league-leading 103 on the season -- third in club history.

CLARK ANTICS: Speaking of LBs, Taman had a game-long exchange with Calgary's Brian Clark while on the sidelines Saturday.

"It was nothing," Taman said. "He's a fiery guy. In the heat of battle, things happen. We were just gesturing to each other. Nothing serious. It was pretty funny, actually. We're fine."

The ex-Bomber even shook Taman's hand after the game.

"He just laughed it off," Taman said. "I told him, 'Good luck and maybe we can do it again in a couple of weeks (Grey Cup day).' "

STEGALL SORRY: Bomber SB Milt Stegall threw a low cut-block at Calgary LB Scott Coe on one play.

"I apologized to him afterwards but I can't hit the man up high," Stegall explained. "Every time I hit somebody up high, I get hurt. It wasn't a Davis Sanchez cut, it was a Milt Stegall cut."

Sanchez, the Montreal cornerback, had hit Stegall low, causing an injury that forced him to miss last week's game against Hamilton.

HASHMARKS: CB Robert Bean, who has essentially been a backup DB all season, snared his club-leading fourth interception of the year Saturday ... DE Gavin Walls now leads the East with 11 QB sacks ... Oops, S Kyries Hebert had three special teams tackles, not the four listed here yesterday.


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