New Bombers OC needed a change

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:34 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Gary Crowton was up for a new challenge.

After spending the past 30 years coaching four-down football, there was something about joining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers staff when head coach Paul LaPolice offered him the job of offensive co-ordinator that piqued Crowton’s interest.

“It’s just wide open and spread out” said Crowton, noting he had a few other options to consider in NCAA schools but chose to come to Canada instead. “It’s fun, you can be creative. You have great motions, an extra guy out there. A bigger field. I enjoy the game. My mindset and my type of thinking suits Canadian football. I thought it was a good (opportunity) and I took it.”

While many observers are wondering if Crowton can give the Blue Bombers offence a significant spark, what’s abundantly clear is that he has a host of vast experiences to draw from as he adapts to the CFL game.

“Obviously, he’s had success everywhere he’s been and we don’t want to be the one’s responsible to stop that tradition he’s carried on,” said Blue Bombers tackle Glenn January.

After spending 17 seasons at the collegiate level, Crowton spent two seasons with the Chicago Bears, working under head coach Dick Jauron.

“I enjoyed working with professional athletes, it means more to them,” said Crowton. “I saw that there and I see that here too. It means a lot to some of the college athletes, without a doubt, but this is a profession and it’s their livelihood. They have to perform or their gone. I like that.”

In 2001, Crowton took the head coaching job at Brigham Young and compiled a record of 26-23 over four seasons.

Since that time, he’s been an offensive co-ordinator at Oregon, Maryland and Louisiana State University, helping the Tigers to a national championship under head coach Les Miles in 2008.

“That was a great experience ,” said Crowton. “I was in so many big games where you were going to win it or lose it in the fourth quarter.”

Training camp is only seven days old, but Crowton feels like he’s making progress in his adjustment.

“I’m learning daily,” said Crowton. “You’ve got to really pay attention to what you’re doing on first down. You’ve got to have a real big plan for that.

“I think I’m bringing some new thoughts and ideas that could help us build on some of the good things they did last year.”

Despite having a loaded resume, Crowton hasn’t been shy about bouncing ideas off LaPolice and the rest of the staff.

“He’s a good teacher and a good coach,” said LaPolice. “He’s a very humble person who is willing to listen and learn.”

Crowton’s enthusiasm has also been apparent throughout training camp.

“The guy is excited about football,” said Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce. “He’s excited about the process of learning a new game and bringing his style here. He’s a very articulate coach and a very cerebral person. He’s a smart, smart guy. You can tell he has a lot of world experience.”

That world experience includes a two-year church mission to Korea, a path the former quarterback took after getting cut by the Denver Broncos.

Upon his return to the U.S., Crowton earned his degree and eventually chose to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and carve out a coaching career, first as a graduate assistant at BYU in 1982.

“I enjoy helping people with the game that I’d experienced as a player. I had some success, people thought I was good at it and I enjoyed it and knew I wanted to do it.”

CAMPING OUT: DAY 7

3 STARS OF THE DAY

Quarterback Alex Brink had a strong showing in scrimmage, receiver Chris Matthews made a highlight-reel catch and added a TD reception, while defensive end Kenny Mainor was very active on the line.

CATCH OF THE DAY

Brink delivered a deep ball to Matthews, who leaped over Jovon Johnson to turn it into a 63-yard gain. Honourable mention to Doug Pierce for a diving grab.

INJURY UPDATE

Defensive back Alex Suber was back on the field and got some reps with the first-team defence after missing the past few days. Still on the sidelines were DT Dorian Smith (lower-body), DB Deon Beasley (undisclosed), WR Jade Etienne (illness), RB Carl Volny (knee), S Brady Browne (hamstring), LB Marcellus Bowman (lower leg), T Andre Douglas (hip), DB Jeremy McGee (undisclosed) and LB Rene Stephan (Achilles).

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m pleased. We’re on schedule. I like our progression.” — Head coach Paul LaPolice after a week of full training camp

TWEET OF THE DAY

“Your preparation is the key to it all.” — Blue Bombers QB Alex Brink, @AlexBrink10.

SCHEDULE

After heavy rains and lightning on Saturday morning cut the single session short, the Bombers are back to two-a-days on Sunday at Canad Inns Stadium between 8:15 and 12:30 p.m. as the team prepares for Thursday’s pre-season opener against the Montreal Alouettes.


Videos

Photos