Bombers get their man

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

You just know Brendan Taman was biting his tongue, the blood trickling out of the side of his mouth.

But try as we might, the Blue Bombers GM simply refused to gushingly compare his latest quarterback recruit to the likes of Damon Allen or even Tracy Ham, despite a five-year longing for him. Taman finally lured Virginia Tech star Bryan Randall to Winnipeg but was hesitant to laud the talented tosser as the club's Next One or even Future One.

"When I first saw him as a junior at Virginia Tech, I thought that's a guy who could play up here for a long time," Taman admitted yesterday. "But I thought the same thing about (Tennessee's) Tee (Martin) and that didn't work out. So I'm not going to herald him as another Buck Pierce (B.C. backup). He's got to come in and compete first. I mean, he hasn't taken one down in the CFL yet."

And this from a guy who once claimed that Charles Roberts would become another Pinball.

"Yeah, but I've been wrong with other guys," he demurred.

Yet, Randall has remained on the Bomber neg list since 2004, longer than any other player since Taman first started adding and deleting prospects from that ever-changing wish list. And every time a Bomber starter went down, his name was the first to come up as a possible saviour.

"That just shows that we think he has the ability to play," Taman allowed.

In fact, he suggested that Cleveland McCoy, the other QB inked yesterday, could have been on the same list for the same length of time if he had not just come out of school.

But the following comment speaks volumes about how Taman really feels about Randall's potential:

"Some teams I could have traded his rights to in a New York second," he said. "But I wasn't going to go there."

In other words, Bryan Randall is the most significant QB recruited out of the U.S. colleges since Taman first became a Bomber bird dog. And never mind that the much-heralded Martin and Brad Banks proved to be busts here.

There were some things that made Taman's mouth water when he first spotted Randall.

"Just the way he escapes (the rush) as a player and the movement he has on the ball," he recalled. "Both quarterbacks are suited to the CFL game. But Bryan has more experience behind him and he was on our list for quite some time."

Because Randall has been to three NFL camps, he is getting slightly more cash than McCoy, with incentives for playing time for each. But Taman certainly did not crack the salary cap with either pact.

"They pretty much just invited me to camp," said Randall, who even sounds like a self-assured talent. "But there's nothing guaranteed."

Yes, it will take time to groom either prospect into a starter, or even a temporary backup. But the bottom line is that with both Randall and McCoy in hand, the Bombers now feel more comfortable should Kevin Glenn -- who will remain the No. 1 gun -- be felled with injury yet again. (He has completely recuperated from his broken arm.)

"They're both really good prospects," Taman said. "But they only have about 10 days to show what they can do. And I don't really care which one makes it.

"What I have a problem with is, if they end up playing and they're not good enough."

Actually, a lot of people would have a problem with that.


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