Bombers' Burke hopes win boosts confidence

Tim Burke recorded his first win as Bombers head coach Friday but is more happy for the players and...

Tim Burke recorded his first win as Bombers head coach Friday but is more happy for the players and other coaches. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:30 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Tim Burke went home after his first win as a professional head football coach and downed an India Pale Ale beer. It wasn’t a Pilsner like what those Saskatchewan pansies drink.

 He had only one beer, though, because it was late, and there is still a boatload of work to do if he’s going to A) have any chance of getting the Bombers anywhere near the playoffs; and B) have any shot at removing the interim tag from his job next season while keeping the “head coach” part.

Burke said after Friday’s 34-12 thumping of the toothless Hamilton Tiger-Cats that he might appreciate his first win as a head coach a little more the next day. Saturday, however, brought little more than a shrug from the Bomber boss when he met with the media.

“Don’t get me wrong: I’m really happy with the win, but I’m happy for the players, I’m happy for the organization, for the coaches,” said Burke, who is 1-3 since taking over for the fired Paul LaPolice. “The coaches did a great job this week. They do it every week. People don’t realize how hard they work and how many hours they put in and the commitment they have to the game. The assistant coaches never get enough credit.”

Burke, of course, was a career assistant until a month ago, so it’s understandable why he would give such praise. He could have kept going with the compliments, though, because the victory was Winnipeg’s most complete of the season. Granted, there have been only three victories in 12 attempts, but hey, it was a rare sign of hope in a rebuilding process that has produced plenty of doom and gloom.

“I’m hoping it instils a lot of confidence,” Burke said. “We did well in all three phases of the game. I’m still a little upset about the penalties. We had six penalties overall, which is not a lot, but there were three which were really unnecessary penalties, and that accounted for 40 yards in field position.”

 

To that end, the Bombers will not stop in their quest to add more talent to the roster. CFL practice rosters will expand from seven to 12 on Oct. 3, but it appears the Bombers are on the verge of adding a couple of bodies as soon as next week.

“There’s still guys we want to bring in because they’re talented guys, so we’ll see if we can get them to come in or not,” Burke said. “I don’t really want to get into it until we actually have them here. Several of them are still waiting to see if the NFL is going to come back on them and all that, so we’ll wait and see how that goes.”

When pressed to be more specific about when new blood might be hitting the practice field, Burke said “not Tuesday,” which made it sound like Wednesday or Thursday could be the day. Something’s definitely up, because Bombers director of communications Darren Cameron, who was in Burke’s field of vision behind Saturday’s scrum, vigorously shook his head when the coach was asked for more details on potential new players.

It’s unlikely anyone joining the fold at this stage of the season will have much of an impact, although the occasional late-season addition has burst on to the scene in Winnipeg. The Bombers are four points out of a playoff spot with six games to go, and crazier things have happened in the Crazy Football League.

“You can’t look ahead,” Burke said. “I did tell the guys in the meeting (Saturday) we have our fate in our own hands. We play one Western opponent and everybody else is an Eastern opponent. So we can be the masters of our own fate.”

The Bombers host the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night at Canad Inns Stadium. The Argos (6-5) visit the Montreal Alouettes (7-4) in an East Division showdown on Sunday afternoon.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/PentonKirk 


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