Yearnin' for learnin'

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

When Ian Logan went to the water cooler in the off-season, there was always a chance he would rub shoulders with the man desperately trying to bring another NHL team to Canada.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers safety, who signed a three-year contract extension on the first day of training camp, spent his winter working in accounts receivable at Research in Motion in Waterloo, Ont.

His ultimate boss was none other than BlackBerry magnate Jim Balsillie.

"He actually sat down the hall from me," Logan said. "I didn't get a chance to talk to him, but I have contacted his secretary and am setting up a meeting with him when I get back.

"I'd like to have him as a mentor, to kind of give me advice, because he's big on athletics and obviously academics. So he's kind of the perfect guy to talk to."

Logan said he has no inside information about Balsillie's quest to "Make it Seven," but he does know a little bit about intercepting passes in the CFL. Logan has two picks in five games this season, already tying a career high he set in 2007 when he was primarily a backup cornerback.

In other words, the Waterloo native is settling nicely into his role as the last line of defence in the ball-hawking Bomber secondary.

"I learned a lot last year," said Logan, who will turn 27 on Aug. 19. "I'm healthier this year, which is part of it. The system is similar but a little bit different. They put me in positions to make plays.

"A lot of it is just getting better, growing. I'm in my fourth year, but I didn't play a lot of safety my first two years. I didn't play it at all in college, so I'm learning still. I'm learning a lot every game."

The low point in Logan's young safety career was last Sept. 7 in the Banjo Bowl, just his third career start at the position. Coincidentally, it was Saskatchewan quarterback Michael Bishop, now Winnipeg's No. 1 gun, who lit him up in the Roughriders' 34-31 come-from-behind victory.

Considering how good things are going these days, it wouldn't be surprising if the former Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk can already look back at that game and chuckle.

"I don't laugh, but the funny part was, other than a few of those plays in that game, I had a good game, which is frustrating," he said.

"There's just the little things I do better this year. I can just read more. I can see the quarterback, what he's looking to do. I couldn't do that as well last year. And that comes with experience."

Logan also credits the coaching staff for how they handle the players, saying he's more "comfortable" this year. "They're not in your face yelling at you," he said. "They're letting us make plays. It's building on itself, and everybody's responding to it."

The camaraderie between coaches and players this year is evident. As Logan was conducting yesterday's interview, defensive co-ordinator Mark Nelson strolled by and couldn't believe "a guy who had a five-yard interception return" in Saturday's 13-12 win over the Argos was getting media attention.

A sheepish Logan admitted his goal is to start returning his picks a little further back up the field. He has 10 yards off his two thefts this season.

"In college one year I had four interceptions and zero yards returning," he said. "I always catch it and fall down."

As long as Logan continues to catch it, his coaches are unlikely to be too concerned about the rest.


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