No experience? No problem

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Maybe every single quarterback in Blue Bombers camp does lack CFL experience.

In fact, the latest recruit, Richie Williams, has more than Stefan LeFors, Bryan Randall and James Kilian combined.

So, what of it?

"When I came here in 1992, (Bomber head coach/GM) Cal (Murphy) had cleaned house here because he had locker-room problems," new Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly recalled recently. "He got rid of some players that were very well-known here in Winnipeg and he got rid of an entire coaching staff and had only one member with any CFL experience, and that was Urban Bowman."

Kelly had just been hired as the receivers coach.

"(Defensive backs coach) Frank Spaziani and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into," said Kelly, who had been the assistant head coach at San Francisco State University. "Then, Cal has a heart attack and up and leaves us after the first pre-season game."

Murphy spent most of that season in a London, Ont., hospital where he had a heart transplant.

"So, you learn to adjust and adapt quickly," said Kelly, who has actually laughed about the concerns over his quarterbacks' lack of live action. "So, all this talk about experience, I kind of get a kick out of it because when I got thrown from the frying pan into the fire in this league, I had none and I was younger than some of the players we've got right now. So, I don't want to get overly-wrapped up in that right now."

Kelly did help guide that club into the 1992 Grey Cup. But, what he did not say is that the Winnipeg offence was led by quarterback Matt Dunigan, who had a wealth of experience, with Danny McManus his backup. The receiving corps under Kelly's guidance included Larry Willis, Larry Thompson, Gerald Wilcox and Eric Streater, who were all well-versed in the ways of the CFL world.

Murphy did clean house, but it was more on the defensive side of the ball than the offence, which still boasted a solid offensive line, led by then future CFL Hall-of-Famer Chris Walby.

Kelly would later become the club's offensive co-ordinator but the offence's production waned when it lost much of its experience, especially after Dunigan departed for more dough elsewhere.

On the other hand, an untried and unproven Dieter Brock eventually became one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history. However, even Brock learned the ropes from an experienced Don Jonas.


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