The doctor is in

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Each week a QMI staffer gets to know a sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week Kirk Penton heads to Canad Inns Stadium to chat with new Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive co-ordinator Jamie Barresi, a Hamilton native who is with his fourth CFL team in seven years.

QMI: Do we address you as Dr. Barresi?

JB: No, no, no, no.

QMI: But you have a PhD from Penn State in …?

JB: Exercise science, motor learning. It’s how people acquire motor skills. For me, the big attraction was how people develop expertise in any type of training area. It could be becoming a fighter pilot. For me it was involving the mental things in sports skills enhancement.

QMI: So it’s safe to say you’re big on mechanics?

JB: No doubt about it.

QMI: You’re from Hamilton, but you wound up coaching NCAA football for 20 years. How did you end up in the U.S.?

JB: I was going to school at the University of Ottawa, and I was in the kinesiology program. Two of my advisors had done their graduate work at Penn State. They were really good guys, and they knew I was very interested in coaching. They said you should go to Penn State, start graduate school there and just see if you can get a job as a grad assistant. I got accepted as a grad student, and then I would go to the office, and I got to meet different guys there, and I just kind of made a pest of myself. It just so happened that one of the other grad assistants was in my class. He’s now the offensive line coach for the Bengals (Paul Alexander). He and I became friends, he brought me in, and from there they gave me work, some film to break down. It just grew from there.

QMI: How good of a quarterback were you at the University of Ottawa?

JB: Not very good. The advisors I told you about? I came back on a Monday morning after the most important game of the season where I missed a guy wide open in the end zone. And this was a class where all the really good-looking girls were. There were only three guys. And one of my advisors says in front of the entire class, “Barresi, you couldn’t throw a field goal.”That’s how bad it was. But I got to play.

QMI: Why aren’t there any Canadian quarterbacks?

JB: It’s kind of a population issue in a lot of ways, and there’s also a training issue, an experience issue. They just don’t get the training that you need.

QMI: There are two minutes left, and you’re down by six. If you could have any quarterback in history, who would it be?

JB: That’s a tough question. Joe Montana.

QMI: Can you drop us a few names when it comes to famous coaches you’ve worked with?

JB: I was at Penn State for such a long time (under Joe Paterno), and I stay in touch with those people a lot. Coach (Jim) Caldwell (now head coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts), when I was at Penn State, was the quarterbacks coach and I was the receivers coach. So I learned a lot from him. Then he brought me to Wake Forest.

QMI: What’s your favourite TV show?

JB: I don’t know, the Masters. How’s that? I don’t really watch TV.

QMI: What’s the one thing a quarterback has to have?

JB: The most important thing is he’s gotta give your team hope. So he’s gotta inspire the team. If you have a dud there, he’s not going to be able to inspire. It all funnels up to this one thing: That this guy, when he goes out on the field, he gives you hope. He’s not going to even get to that part if he doesn’t show skills. The bottom line is his heart. We’re going to have five guys or four guys in camp. The thing that’ll separate them is the guy who can lead.

QMI: Speaking of heart, you worked with Buck Pierce for two years in B.C. How good would he look in Blue and Gold?

JB: He would really be good. He’s got a lot of qualities. I always thought he was a little bit like Dave Dickenson was. Dave was a mentally sharp player. Dave didn’t have quite the skills that Buck has. I don’t mean to say anything negative. The first day Dave is eligible he’ll be a hall of fame inductee. Dave was amazing. And Buck is very similar to that, because he’s very intelligent and a heady type of guy, and he’s skilled.

SUN: Two years ago you said in a Regina Leader-Post interview that you were still “interviewing candidates” for your wife position. How is that search going?

JB: That’s the right way of saying it. It’s not really going too good. I’ve given up on that.

QMI: Come on, there’s lots of time left.

JB: Yeah, but I’m kind of running out of time in that regard. I’m starting to look like Paulie in the Rocky movies. It’s not happening.


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