Bombers fans have spoken

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

The people have spoken, and Bomber fans believe their team — despite posting its worst record in more than a decade — is on the right track.

Nearly 80% of the record 1,009 respondents to the Sun’s annual You Be The Boss poll feel the Bombers, who lost a CFL record nine games by four points or fewer this season, are a team that needs only minor tinkering.

Then again, another 20% — or one in five — say there are serious problems. Only 2% believe the Blue and Gold, who were 4-14 in 2010, are fine the way they are.

As for the new regime that fell flat in its first kick at the can, the Bomber faithful are somewhat confident that Paul LaPolice and Joe Mack will be able to eventually get it done.

Of those who responded, 71% feel LaPolice is the long-term answer at head coach, while 62% are convinced Mack is the answer at GM. More than 82% of respondents want to keep LaPolice, and 79% feel the same way about Mack.

As for the most important position on the field, the fan base was divided over who should quarterback the team in 2011.

While more respondents want to keep Steven Jyles (93%) than Buck Pierce (79%), a greater portion of supporters (48%) want Pierce to be the starter next season.

The percentage who think Jyles should start at quarterback is 34%, but only 31% figure Pierce is the long-term answer at pivot.

Add it all up, and Bomber fans aren’t sure exactly what they want.

Here are a few other notable findings from the annual You Be The Boss poll:

— Warning to placekicker Justin Palardy, who got 98.1% support: Alexis Serna had a 94% approval rating last year at this time.

— We asked fans to keep or punt 50 players, and they voted to get rid of only five: slotback Brock Ralph, quarterback Alex Brink, fullback Andre Sadeghian, returner Markus Howell and linebacker Joe Lobendahn. This is in line with previous seasons, as last year fans wanted to punt four of 49 players.

— The only assistant coach who received less than 50% support was rookie special teams co-ordinator Kyle Walters, who got 24%. Walters’ cover teams allowed six return touchdowns in 2010.

— Defensive co-ordinator and assistant coach Kavis Reed got 80% support. There’s a chance the other 20% will get their wish if Reed leaves to become head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.

— We have asked the David Asper question three consecutive years, and support for him plummeted this year as only a quarter of respondents want to hand the franchise’s keys to him. Last year at this time, 54% of respondents wanted Asper to take control of the Blue and Gold.

— The most popular player in the poll was wide receiver Greg Carr, who joined the club in September, and had 568 receiving yards and four touchdowns in seven games. He got an impressive 98.5% approval rating. Defensive end Phil Hunt, who led the league with 16 sacks, and Palardy were next at 98.1%.

— The Bomber faithful believes defensive back Jonathan Hefney, with 62.5% of the vote, is the most important free agent to sign this off-season. Centre Obby Khan was second at 14%.

— The Blue and Gold supporters would like to see someone new calling the offensive plays in 2011. LaPolice performed those duties in 2010.

— The fans, for the most part, were supportive of the moves Mack and Co. made when they took over earlier this year. Getting rid of player personnel director John Murphy, firing assistants Rick Campbell and Mark Nelson, signing the injury-prone Pierce and cutting or trading players like Ike Charlton, Michael Bishop and Gavin Walls were seen as good moves.

— They didn’t agree with everything, however. They thought the releases of Siddeeq Shabazz and Lenny Walls were incorrect decisions.

— Interestingly, 48% of respondents said not hiring Greg Marshall as head coach was a good move. That contradicts the data that shows there is more support for LaPolice, but it also indicates the head knock will be on thin ice going into the 2011 campaign.


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