Ex-Marine runs a tight ship

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Charlie Carpenter has a pool in the back yard of his Cincinnati home, and there is probably someone from his family who is in it right now.

He has a wife of 41 years, Vicki, two children and five grandchildren who are going to be spending a lot of time around that pool this summer.

Carpenter, meanwhile, is going to be in Winnipeg, hanging around with smelly, 300-pound men in the hot Manitoba sun. The 60-year-old Vietnam vet wouldn't have it any other way.

"I really love it here, bottom line," Carpenter said. "This is where I started, and it feels good to be back here. I think we've got a special situation, and I think we're going to be OK."

After coaching in the American college and high school ranks for a couple of decades, Carpenter turned pro and came north in 1992 to work as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' offensive line coach for two seasons.

The offensive co-ordinator in 1992 and 1993 was none other than current Bombers head coach Mike Kelly, in case you're wondering why Carpenter is back as Winnipeg's O-line boss once again this year.

Since his last stint in the Manitoba capital, Carpenter has made CFL stops in Ottawa, Baltimore, Toronto, B.C., Toronto (again) and Montreal two years ago. In other words, he's brought even more coaching experience back with him.

"I'm a very technique-type coach, and I'm a discipline coach," he said. "I just believe in those things, because I think those things will make you a better football player.

"Sometimes you might not have all the skills, but if you have good technique you got a chance to win. I'm not saying you're going to win, but if you don't have any technique or any discipline in you, then you're going to lose all the time."

Carpenter was an offensive lineman in high school and had an offer to play college football in the late 1960s, but he decided to join the Marines instead and spent 13 months in Vietnam on his only tour of duty.

He was given the option to leave the Marines when he returned to the U.S., so he did just that and ended up at Murray State as a 27-year-old freshman. He remains young at heart, thanks to the players he coaches.

"Messing with these guys, you stay young, because all they are is big kids," he said. "That's all they are."


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