The Berry factor

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

Doug Berry was amazed at what he'd just seen from Kevin Glenn.

The Blue Bomber head coach couldn't believe the accuracy of his quarterback in practice yesterday.

"Especially on the deep balls," Berry said later. "They're so hard. It just seems like so many times his passes just drop right on their hands. It's really unbelievable to me."

Kind of like Glenn's season.

There are several theories about No. 5's sudden ascension to stardom:

- He has a receiving corps with more reliable hands than a Timex.

- He has a running back, in Charles Roberts, whose feet take all the pressure off his arm.

- His offensive line offers better protection than Trojan.

ONE OF THE BEST

Here's another: he has one of the league's best quarterback mentors, in Berry.

I hadn't really thought of that until hearing it from Saskatchewan GM Eric Tillman over the Labour Day weekend.

"Doug certainly has been a key factor in the development of Anthony Calvillo in Montreal," Tillman was saying. "When you do it twice... Doug is the common denominator."

Berry was the Als quarterbacks coach from 2003-05, a three-year run that saw Calvillo put up the gaudiest yardage totals of his career. Over that span, the Als quarterback threw the leather off the ball, averaged 5,829 yards, 34 touchdowns, just 16 interceptions and a passer rating of nearly 100.

Glenn has gone one better, completing an astounding 70% of his passes for 3,046 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions through 10 games -- a rating of 107.9.

All this from a guy who, if he'd wanted to skip town last season, would have had no trouble getting a ride to the airport.

GETS ALL HUMBLE

Ask Berry about it, and he gets all humble on you. Or maybe he's just trying to protect his secret.

But the second-year Bomber boss did offer this: coaching quarterbacks is a whole lot different than coaching O-linemen, his first job in Montreal.

"As an O-line coach, it's a different mentality -- a kick-'em-in-the-butt mentality," Berry said. "Coaching quarterbacks, it's more put-your-arm-around-'em. They need to be coddled more than browbeat.

"These guys are huge decision-makers in terms of what's happening in every phase of the game. You always talk about a quarterback not being rattled. Well, you certainly don't want to be the coach that's rattling the quarterback."

Which doesn't mean Berry has never lost it on Glenn.

"Maybe a little last year," he said. "I can't say that I have this year. But I can recall an incident or two."

Glenn, though, says his coach doesn't do it in a way that leaves you wondering if he's lost all confidence in you.

"He's a very emotional guy," Glenn said. "We always kid around that he has some of the craziest body language on the sideline during the game. You take it for what it's worth. Off the field, he always makes it a point to come back and explain.

OPEN-MINDED

"We've developed a good relationship. He's a very open-minded coach."

Enough to give Glenn all kinds of input into the offence. Instead of "My way or the highway," it's "My way, unless you'd prefer something else."

"I tend to see a lot of stuff through his eyes," Glenn said. "He's been very instrumental in teaching me his offence. I've been around a couple of good head coaches and offensive co-ordinators. I've taken all that and kept it. You top it off with Berry coming here and being the last guy, the next guy in line to tutor me."

The icing on the cake.

And the results have been sweet, here and in Montreal.

"If you take that into consideration," Glenn concluded. "I guess he is a good tutor."

Now that he's out from under the enormous shadow cast by former Als boss Don Matthews, Doug Berry is finding himself in the limelight.

Hand in hand with the quarterback he's got his arm around.


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