Hebert born a safety

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Kyries Hebert has always maintained that he was born a safety.

"I came out of the womb covering the field," the 26-year-old said yesterday.

That's why the Louisiana native has needed a little time to get used to playing a new position this year with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Hebert is trying out at weak-side linebacker, and he made a good first impression last week when he returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in the first pre-season game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

It was a different story last season when Hebert was moved from safety to linebacker for two games. The results were disastrous.

"It was a surprise, and it was very uncomfortable coming from safety and going right down into it with a few days notice," Hebert said of last year's experiment. "Coach (Greg) Marshall did his best to prepare me for the situation, just as I did all that I could to prepare myself, but obviously we didn't have the other team's game plan.

"Now we have a better idea of what teams will look to do when they see me down there. We're better prepared."

And if other teams want to try to run through him or over him, Hebert is more than ready to rumble.

"I want them to attack me," he said. "I want to be the guy that they look and think they can make plays on, because it gives me the opportunity to make plays."

Hebert, who is also a special teams star, was trying too hard to make plays during his linebacker stint last season. He often over-pursued the ball carrier and ended up out of position. Starting from scratch this year has given him a newfound confidence.

SPEED

"I'm beginning to understand the position more, understanding the reads and the speed of it," he said. "I have more than enough speed. I need to know that so that I don't have to rush to get to places. Impatience is the biggest thing that I'm trying to conquer."

Head coach Doug Berry won't proclaim Hebert the starting linebacker just yet, but he likes what he sees from the former Ottawa Renegade.

"He was much better in this last game than he did in the opportunity that he had during the middle of the season last year," Berry said. "But this is the benefit of having training camp and starting from ground zero rather than just being thrust into the action and us saying, 'Go play linebacker.'

"So this has been good for him, to be able to start building the foundation from the beginning, and he's responded very well to that."


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