Expect changes to Blue coaching staff

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Before we embark on another Winnipeg Blue Bomber off-season -- the 16th consecutive winter of football discontent in this town -- there are a few things we need to clean out of the notebook.

Including a few last crumbs from Sunday's Bishop Bowl ...

Most of the talk surrounding the Bombers over the next couple of months will revolve around free agents, and which ones may or may not be back in '07.

Just as important to watch -- but for very different reasons -- are assistant coaches Mike Gibson and Greg Marshall, head coach Doug Berry's two right-hand men.

Gibson has drawn mixed reviews running the offence the last two years. At times his play-calling this season left you wondering if Charles Roberts was even in the game.

Second-guessing plays is the easiest thing a Monday-morning quarterback can do. All things considered, you can't say Roberts didn't get the ball enough this year.

Well, OK, he could have got it one or two more times with the Bombers leading by 10 with nine minutes to go in Sunday's East semifinal. A mini-drive there, instead of a two-passes-and-out series, might have changed everything.

I wondered more about the lack of a no-huddle offence in the final minute of the first half.

It wouldn't have hurt in the final two minutes of the game, either. The offence would have had more time, allowing Roberts to run a few times, and maybe Kevin Glenn doesn't get picked off to end it.

Like I said, it's the easiest Monday morning thing to do.

Having said all that, Gibson is the only holdover assistant coach from '05. He wasn't a Doug Berry hire. And his contract is up.

Don't be surprised if he doesn't return.

WANTED MAN? Marshall, Winnipeg's defensive co-ordinator, could be gone for entirely different reasons.

As many as four teams -- Hamilton, Montreal, Calgary and Saskatchewan -- could be in the market for a new head coach.

Who's more qualified than the man who engineered the Bombers' rise from the CFL's worst defence in '05 to one of its best?

Still hard to believe the worst stain on Marshall's defence this season was left by Michael Bishop.

THE BIG THREE: Pinball Clemons's move to insert Bishop for Damon Allen Sunday won't get him any votes for the CFL Coach-of-the-Year Award, since it's based on the regular season.

But Clemons should still be a finalist for the job he did in the face of a rash of injuries this season. My other finalists, by default, would be Berry and Wally Buono of B.C., with Buono getting the trophy.

Other than those three, nobody got their team to live up to expectations, let alone exceed them.

Berry went a long way to proving he was the right man for the job here.

Now comes the hard part: lifting a .500 team to the next level.

THE QB QUESTION: About Kevin Glenn as Winnipeg's starting quarterback.

I'd say he did plenty to earn another season. I mean, a 9-5 record and a near-miss in his first playoff start? Sounds like good progress to me.

Of course, that doesn't mean the Bombers shouldn't find a decent pivot to challenge the guy next season. You can't get by with just one -- we found that out.

OLD LEFTY LOST: A little-discussed factor in Sunday's East semi was the difference in field position, due to the mediocre punting by Troy Westwood and lousy Bomber kick coverage.

Westwood was absolutely killed by the Argos Noel Prefontaine in the first half, averaging 15 yards less per punt.

Indoors, there's no excuse for that.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Call me if you need some help." -- Bomber boss Doug Berry overheard talking to Toronto GM Adam Rita Sunday. The Argos are preparing to face Berry's old team, the Alouettes, in the East Final.


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