Nugent's come a long way

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

He learned his lesson well.

Last year, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers benched Jason Nugent for a brief spell.

This year, Nugent is the CFL club's starting safety.

"We're happy with Jason's development," head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "Towards the end of last year, I thought he started to get a real strong understanding of what we're trying to do defensively."

The Scarborough, Ont., native rebounded last year to become a leader on special teams and set a Grey Cup record with five special teams tackles.

"Jason is a good special teams player," Berry said. "He brings a good attitude and he's a very physical player, so when he sees them coming over the middle, he's going to let them know he's there."

The 6-foot, 215-pound Rutgers product beat out Sebastian Clovis, who was cut, and Ian Logan for the starting spot vacated by import Kyries Hebert (NFL).

NAME THAT DB: Non-import defensive back Steven Holness was asked if he preferred Steve or Steven.

"My birth name is Balarama," responded Holness, whose father is Jamaican and mother, French Canadian. "When I came back to Canada from the United States, I had such a difficult time conforming to the social norm, that I ended up acquiescing to that pressure and I added Steven (legally) so, now it's become a part of me.

"But at home and around my close friends, they call me Balarama. That's my actual birth name ... (but) Steven's fine."

DRY DAY: The Bombers were scrambling to feed their training camp hopefuls on Friday, after a watermain break cut off the water supply at the Canad Inns Polo Park, where players are housed.

The hotel kitchen was shut down, forcing the Bombers to pay each player so they could get a meal somewhere else.

The hotel did not charge the Bombers for meals that day so the vouchers were covered that way, Bombers GM Brendan Taman said.

Although some players shaved and showered at the Bomber locker room, some were reluctant to come by on cutdown day, he added.

PUNTING PATIENCE: Berry will be patient with punter Duncan O'Mahony because he is still getting himself into shape after missing training camp.

"Duncan, right now, is in training camp mode for himself and is trying to get into his rhythm," Berry said. "He has demonstrated an ability to punt in this league and we're just waiting for him to get there. (Yesterday) in practice, he was better than he was in previous days."

HASHMARKS: DBs Willie Amos and Marc Beswick, FB Brian Guebert, LB Joe Lobendahn, WR Casey McGahee and DL Josh Miller have accepted spots on the practice roster. Only WR Dan Sheldon refused ... RB Charles Roberts (leg) got some attention from the trainer during practice but seemed OK afterwards ... OL Matt Sheridan (hamstring) is day-to-day so he could be available when the Bombers host the Toronto Argonauts in their season-opener this Friday ... Bombers will practise at Canad Inns Stadium, 11:15 a.m.-1 p.m. today. The public is welcome.


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