Garber now calling Bombers' defensive shots

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebackers coach Chip Garber. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI AGENCY)

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebackers coach Chip Garber. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI AGENCY)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:31 PM ET

Expect the Bomber defence to have the same kind of attitude even though someone new will be calling the plays.

Linebackers coach Chip Garber is taking over those responsibilities for Tim Burke, who has moved up to the big chair, and it turns out he shoots just as straight as Burke.

Asked on Wednesday what led to his firing last season as Argonauts defensive co-ordinator, Garber came out firing at Toronto GM Jim Barker, who was the head coach at the time and was the one who sent him packing.

“I think the used car salesman that was running the whole operation … ultimately I don’t know if it was a great decision because he got fired at the end of the year, too,” Garber said Wednesday. “He fires the co-ordinator, he fires the starting quarterback (Cleo Lemon), and then he gets fired at the end of the year.”

Touche.

Garber, however, was quick to admit his defence wasn’t playing that great. It was last in yardage allowed and second last in points surrendered when Barker tied the can to him in early August after five straight losses. Toronto’s defence ended up dead last in both categories after Orlondo Steinauer took control.

“We weren’t playing well to begin with, and we had some injuries to begin with, and that certainly didn’t help matters,” Garber said. “I certainly would’ve liked to have a chance to finish it out and see what we could’ve done, but you gotta make a decision like that and live with it.”

Garber and Burke appear to be cut from the same cloth, so don’t expect too many ripples in the transfer of defensive power. Both spent nearly three decades as defensive assistants in the NCAA before coming north, and they basically share the same defensive brain.

“One of the reasons I came here was because of Tim,” Garber said. “I’ve known Tim for a number of years, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to come out here. We are very similar in our beliefs and philosophies, so I that’s one of the reasons we made a good fit.

“We’re not going to be blitzing them coming off the bus. We’ll still do what we do and do the things that we do good.”

Garber was a defensive co-ordinator only twice in the NCAA, serving in the role for Virginia Military Institute between 1996 and 1998, and then again at Hofstra in 1999. VMI was an ugly 4-29 during Garber’s three seasons, but Hofstra was 9-3 and featured one of the best Division I-AA defences in the nation.

He came to the CFL in 2008 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive backs coach and then, after a year with the NFL’s Washington Redskins as their defensive quality control coach, he became Toronto’s defensive co-ordinator.

Garber’s first year with the Boatmen was a beauty, as they allowed the fewest points (24.6 per game) despite giving up the fourth most yards. It all fell apart six games into 2011, and he was gone. Apparently the 2010 season didn’t do him any good in Barker’s books.

“According to him, I guess he never was happy with it, so he wanted to go with a younger guy and somebody who had played in the league and that’s his prerogative,” Garber said. “But like I said, he’s not coaching anymore either.”

The Bomber defence is seventh in both points allowed and yards surrendered this season. Here is Garber’s chance to prove Barker wrong. Bomber fans will be happy if he does.

CHIP-ING IN

Chip Garber has been a defensive co-ordinator for parts of six seasons during his 32-year coaching career. A look at how those teams have fared:

Year    Team     Level     Record 

2011    Toronto   CFL       1-5*

2010    Toronto   CFL       9-9

1999    Hofstra    NCAA    9-3

1998    VMI         NCAA    1-10

1997    VMI         NCAA    0-11

1996    VMI         NCAA    3-8

* fired after six games

 


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