Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mixed verdict on Blue move

Fans surprised and divided

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The firing of head coach Paul LaPolice has Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans lining up on opposite sides of the ball.

"I am a Bomber season-ticket holder since 1998," David Thompson said as he stood outside the Bombers Store at Canad Inns Stadium dressed in a team hoodie.

"The fact that (quarterback Joey) Elliott didn't have a chance to start during the first part of the season is an indictment on the coaching staff," he said, noting he comes to see games all the way from his home in Grand Forks, N.D. "I think firing LaPolice was the right move."

Not everyone shopping for souvenirs at the store agreed.

"Are you serious?" asked Rick Bezditny upon hearing LaPolice was axed. "To me the biggest issue is, we don't have a quarterback, and I don't know if that's his problem," said Bezditny, referring to LaPolice.

"Elliott's been playing good, you gotta give 'em some games," he said as his son, Nick, nodded in agreement.

"I didn't think he should be fired, but I guess let's see what happens now. If we do worse, he was doing the best he could," said Nick.

Darryl Unrau said he "used to be" a fan until the Bombers' performance this season. He believes changes within the team are hindering the Bombers' success, not LaPolice's coaching.

"How's the coach supposed to engrave his touch to a team when there are always changes in the season? I mean, the team changes too much," he said, before heading into the Bombers Store. "Until you have a certain group of guys sticking together year in and year out, you're not going to get that chemistry. It takes time to build. You can't do that with a new group of guys each year."

LaPolice had coached the Blue Bombers since February 2010. Defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke has been named interim coach.

kristy.hoffman@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 26, 2012 A5

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