Not missing a beat

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

On one hand, it may be like his own personal Groundhog Day.

On the other, offensive lineman Adam Bestard has already seen this scene before.

A year ago, the Blue Bombers brought their fourth-round draft pick to training camp just to give him a taste of what is to come. Trouble is, Winnipeg has since changed almost its entire coaching staff as well as its GM and player personnel department.

“I was told I was going back to school (last year) so, I was happy I was able to go back and finish off my school,” the Wilfrid Laurier product said Tuesday. “Then, when they re-signed me, I was pretty happy to see there was a whole new coaching staff so, it would be a fresh start. Everyone was on the same playing field and I would get a fresh look.”

The 6-foot-4, 293-pound Sarnia, Ont., native is getting just that and his stock seems to be rising. First, the Bombers kept Bestard over O-lineman Mike Morris, releasing the UBC product who had been picked before him in the 2009 draft in May.

“I was sorry to see him go but that’s the business of it,” said Bestard, 23. “So, I just come out here and work as hard as I can to try to crack the roster.”

With veteran Ryan Donnelly hobbling on a bad knee, Bestard is getting more work at both guard and centre. And because he is also able to play tackle, his chance to crack the roster at least as a backup may have gotten even better with the injury to import offensive lineman Glenn January. Veteran Steve Morley, who had been taking some turns at guard, will likely return to tackle.

“I was sorry to see Glenn go down but I’ve just got to keep working and do my thing and hopefully, turn some heads for them,” Bestard said.

“He’s shown some flashes as a centre,” said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. “He snaps the ball well. He just has to get more consistent with his pass sets.

“But he’s done some good things. We’re pleased with him and he’s a backup long snapper. He just has to work on his strength and consistency.”

Long snapping may be Bestard’s ace-in-the-hole.

“I did that for four years in university, so I have that trick up my sleeve,” he said. “I’m focused a little more on the O-line aspect of it this year. But (special teams) coach (Kyle) Walters was a coach in the OUA (Guelph) and I played a lot of games against him so, he knows what I can do.”

But, with a number of teams around the CFL in need up front, it is good to be a promising, young offensive lineman these days.

“It’s (training camp) been good,” said Bestard, who was a OUA second-team all-star last season. “From where I was last year and to be able to come back this year, I am able to understand a lot more stuff. I’ve come along that way and I am understanding a little bit better what’s expected.”

He also seemed relatively pleased with the way he played against the Montreal Alouettes in the second half of the pre-season game last Sunday.

“I felt I did OK,” Bestard said. “I felt I had a good game … There were a few technical things and we’re out here this week to clear that up.”

Bestard, meanwhile, heard all about the controversy at the University of Waterloo, where the entire football program was suspended because nine players were nailed for the use of banned substances.

“It’s sad to see,” he said. “I have a lot of buddies who are down the road at Waterloo so it’s too bad to see a few bad apples ruin the whole program. I mean, one guy kind of ruined it for 70 of them … One guy set it off but they ended up catching nine. It’s sad to see that’s what’s going on in some programs.”

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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