Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans will get a taste -- but not yet the full flavour -- of the club’s much anticipated new offensive scheme when the Bombers take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Canad Inns Stadium Wednesday evening in the final pre-season game for both clubs.
"The coaches want to go out there and show all of it," Bombers starting quarterback Buck Pierce laughed during a news conference late Tuesday morning, "and I’m kind of telling them to hold back a bit. We’re all excited because we worked all off-season on it and we’ve talked so much about it.
"There will be some new things," Pierce continued, "but it’s not going to look totally different from what we did last year. We’ll do some new things and there will be a few new twists in what we’re going to do.
"But we’re definitely not going to show our hand."
The Bombers struggled offensively in 2011 despite advancing to the Grey Cup game and the club is pinning its hopes in 2012 on new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who broke franchise and league records for offensive production during a long career in the NCAA and a stint in the NFL.
Crowton has never coached before in the CFL and Crowton, along with the entire Bombers coaching staff, has been vague during training camp about what the new offence will look like, other than to say that it will be up-tempo and include more of a short passing game.
But with only Wednesday night’s pre-season game to go before the club opens the 2012 CFL regular season in Vancouver June 29, the Bombers aren’t going to be able to keep the offence a secret for much longer.
Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said following a 45-minute light walk-through on the field at Canad Inns Stadium Tuesday morning that he is hoping to give Pierce most -- and possibly all -- of the first half tomorrow night, before turning to backups Alex Brink and Joey Elliott, in that order, in the second half.
LaPolice said he expects most of his projected starters to play most of the first half, but there will be at least four who will be absent entirely because of injuries -- offensive tackles Andre Douglas and Glenn January, linebacker Marcellus Bowman and slotback Cory Watson.
LaPolice said he’s been advised by trainers that Watson -- who injured his leg on Sunday -- might be able to play in Vancouver for the season opener but the club will be careful. "I don’t want to push that. I don’t want to get him back too early," LaPolice said. "Hamstrings are things you don’t want to strain."