Blue's revolving door

Is Kit Cartwright's head spinning yet? The new offensive co-ordinator of the Blue Bombers is the...

Is Kit Cartwright's head spinning yet? The new offensive co-ordinator of the Blue Bombers is the team's sixth since 2000. (Sun Media/Brian Donogh)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

I still remember Mike Gibson's first day on the job as offensive co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

It was two years ago, and the Bombers had gone through six OCs in the previous seven seasons, from Joe Paopao to Ronnie Lancaster. Only one, Paul LaPolice, had lasted as much as two years.

Presented with the grim statistics, Gibson grinned.

"You run 'em out of town pretty fast, don't you?" I recall him saying that day.

Gibson promised things would be different, though, that he'd last a few years.

Turned out he made it through two before leaving, of his own accord, for the Saskatchewan Roughriders this off-season.

So now it's seven OCs in the last nine years.

Of course, we had to present that information to the new man, Kit Cartwright, upon his appointment the other day.

Unlike Gibson, he didn't know his new office featured a revolving door.

"No," Cartwright said. "I'm sure you'll keep reminding me of that."

He was grinning, too, like every man who came before him.

So, will Cartwright still be smiling in seven months, when the hay from the '07 season is in the barn?

Or will this team continue to fail to get the most out of its offence, a maddening habit ever since the 2001 season set the bar so high?

In '02 and '03 LaPolice called the shots for then-head coach Dave Ritchie, and by the end of that tenure, for whatever reason, reading the Bombers' attack was like reading Dick and Jane.

In came Lancaster, with a bold promise to be unpredictable in '04.

"It's always Tora, Tora, Tora -- attack, attack, attack," Ronnie Jr. said the day he was hired.

After one underwhelming season, Lancaster was gone, gone, gone.

Next up was Gibson, who worked under Jim Daley his first year and had the Bomber offence ranked eighth.

His two-year contract bought him another chance. And running new boss Doug Berry's offence last season, Gibson's unit ranked sixth. An improvement, to be sure, but there were still times the play-calling left you scratching your head.

Like Gibson, Cartwright comes in with a two-year deal. And, like Gibson, he'll be at the controls of the machine Berry built.

Berry wants his new right-hand man pushing his own buttons immediately. So when Kevin Glenn throws an incomplete pass on second and two, we'll know who chose the play.

It's the easiest job to second-guess.

Cartwright's U.S. college resume is extensive: 11 schools in 30 years. His one stint as a head coach produced a 7-36 record, including 0-11 his final year, at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Before that, though, he helped the team set 10 school records as offensive co-ordinator.

He's known as a passing game guy, but this will be his first crack at pro ball on either side of the border.

"I've been involved with some very high profile collegiate programs, where there's a lot on the line, big football games and big pressure situations," Cartwright said. "So I think I'm prepared that way."

Thing is, he's got barely three months to prepare for his first drive in three-down football, with a quarterback he's never met, against defences he's never seen.

And in front of fans who know a bad call when they see it, sometimes even when they don't.

Just thought I'd remind him.

In case he thought this was going to be easy.


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