Retro makes grade

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

So now we know what was wrong with Mike Kelly's offence all along.

Remember how the rookie head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted to go retro this season, resurrecting the early- to mid-1990s attack he was part of under former boss Cal Murphy?

Through the first seven games, Kelly's only mistake was not going retro enough.

Friday night in Vancouver, he stuffed his offence into a time machine and went all the way back, to the 1950s and '60s, when real football players grabbed grass and growled.

The results were mind-boggling.

While watching Fred Reid churn out 260 yards along the ground, I could have sworn I heard the ghost of Johnny Esaw describing the play.

When's the last time we saw a player run for that many yards in the CFL? George Reed, in 1965, that's when.

Reid could have run over Reed, even threatened Ron Stewart's all-time league mark, if he hadn't wimped out late in the game. Doesn't he know that in the good old days, if you could stand, you could play?

As a team, the Bombers rushed for nearly 400, and we haven't seen that since 1957, when they'd regularly line up with three backs.

Is it too late to bring back pre-season phenom Lavarus Giles and create a full-house backfield, with Reid and Yvenson Bernard?

What's next, Michael Bishop playing quarterback and safety? Heck, maybe he can kick the ball, too.

If you're going to go retro, you may as well go all the way.

Seems to me Doug Brown would make a good second tight end. Just line up the backs and dare defences to stop you. Why throw at all? It's the old two-plays-and-a-cloud-of-dust offence.

All you have to do is get five yards a pop. Reid and Bernard averaged 10 against the Lions.

The Bombers ran 42 times, and only passed 20.

Somewhere, Bud Grant is smiling.

TSN should have broadcast this one in black-and-white. Get Kelly some checkered polyester pants and a hat, and the look would be complete.

This would have made Chris Walby proud. The Bomber O-line made the B.C. defence look like hamburger meat, continually pounding it with a mallet, stamped No. 32.

When the turf pellets had settled, Winnipeg had rung up 37 points, meaning for a week, at least, they no longer are the CFL's point-scoring punch line -- averaging 20.2 to Toronto's 19.1.

OK, so their offence is still ranked dead-last in yards per game. But one more 10-yard carry for Reid, and it'd be up at No. 7, ahead of the Argos.

Worried about the passing game, are you -- something about Bishop going 11 of 20 for just 131 yards?

Tell it to Kenny Ploen. The most successful quarterback in Bomber history never once led the CFL in passing yards. He just won.

And Friday night, as old-fashioned as it was, the Bombers won, going away: 37-10.

Can't imagine anyone envisioned a game like that, let alone the quarterback guru himself. Perhaps Kelly teaches the handoff better than anyone.

This whole run-game bonanza may not follow his script, but the retro coach would be wise to stick with it when he reconvenes the troops after a week off.

Maybe while he's in Philly during the break he can slide some Dave Clark Five or Martha and the Vandellas into his CD player when he takes the daughters out for a soda, just as a reminder.

Because Bomber fans, after what they saw Friday night, are glad all over.

Keep it up, and they'll be dancing in the streets.


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