It sounds like a scene from an AA meeting.
“My name is Phillip Hunt and I got flagged for four 15-yard penalties … “
That was the penance that the Winnipeg defensive end had to pay in lieu of fines, which had been the normal practice by previous coaches/GMs, for his infractions during Friday’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“Every game, we have penalties and if anybody has a 15-yarder, he gets up in front of the team and explains why and what happened and why they did it, and what they need to improve on,” Blue Bombers rookie head coach Paul LaPolice explained Monday.
LaPolice did excuse Hunt — who only had to get up once — for some iffy calls but did not let him off the hook for others.
“We educate them about the process and how much yardage we gave up,” he said. “I had a big talk with Phil and said, ‘You’ve got to limit your penalties,’ and he said, ‘I know, coach.’
“This past game, he had too many … I don’t believe in (fines). To fine a guy when he’s trying to make a tackle and some of these horse collars right now, it’s a fine line between a guy trying to make a play … I believe in talking to a guy about that and educating him about that and make it better.”
To his credit, Hunt owned up to his mistakes.
“I had time to think about and reflect back, and I did not use good judgement,” he said. “I was frustrated at the time and I also realized what kind of league this is. This is an offensive league and people buy tickets to see offence so they really want to see the pretty wide receivers and the quarterbacks toss it up to each other. So, I’ve got to realize that and I’ve got to tone it down whenever I get towards the quarterback and he has let go of the ball.”
Because Hunt is currently tied with Montreal’s John Bowman for the lead league in sacks (six), he often does get extra attention from opposing blockers.
“It’s cool when I get tackled and cut and pulled down and yanked on and pushed in the head,” said Hunt, 24. “But, when it’s time for us to do some hitting, there’s something wrong with it. So, I’ve got to take that into consideration and just play hard, but play with the sense that I know the referee’s probably not going to call it my way.”
BLOWS STACK: LaPolice, by the way, blew up at his offence during Monday’s workout.
“We went over some things at meetings, then we rep it and I kind of let them know that I wasn’t too pleased with that and that there’s got to be a sense of urgency about doing things the right way,” he said. “Then, we came back and replayed it a second time and did it almost the exact same way. So yeah, I wasn’t pleased so I let them know. Practice picked up somewhat after that.”
LaPolice made mention of the club’s 2-5 record during the tirade.
“I can assure you that no one wears that (2-5 record) harder than I do and I want to make sure the players understand the same thing,” he said.
HURTING: Bomber middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn sat out yesterday’s practice, nursing a sore shoulder, but should be ready to play Thursday. So should offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte, who also rested a hip pointer, LaPolice said.
Pierre-Luc Labbe filled in for Lobendahn during practice while Ryan Donnelly stepped in for LaBatte … Rookie receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris will be out another 4-5 weeks with a high ankle sprain
NOTEABLE: The Calgary Stampeders reportedly refused to grant the Eskimos permission to approach former Bomber director of player personnel John Murphy about the vacant GM job in Edmonton.