Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue write Parker into Will

Linebacker grabs inside track at weakside spot

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The hole is no doubt a big one but Terrell Parker is ready to stake his claim to the weakside linebacker's job (Will) on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' defence.

It's the spot previously occupied by Marcellus Bowman, who departed in the off-season via free agency for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"This is the biggest audition of my life," Parker, 25, said Monday, when asked how much he's looking forward to Wednesday's first exhibition game at Investors Group Field against the Toronto Argonauts.

"I'm competing for a job. It doesn't get any better than this. It's an opportunity of a lifetime; I've just got to take advantage of it and make plays."

The Bombers have shown little, if any, hesitation to put Parker's name in the slot on the depth chart. It was moved there when Bowman left and appears in that very same spot on the training camp depth chart.

'This is the biggest audition of my life'

-- Terrell Parker

That Parker has played all of five CFL games -- last year with Winnipeg as a Bowman understudy -- might seem a bit thin to go on, but Bombers coach Tim Burke clearly has a degree of faith.

"He's really improved his game from a mental aspect," the coach said. "He's always been a good athlete but he's definitely come in and he wants to be the starting Will linebacker and he's done a great job of picking up the mental aspect.

"We're really happy with his progress. He's got a ways to go just like a lot of people, but we're really happy with how he's progressing."

Burke cited the practice and training-camp regimen as key to Parker's advancement.

The native of Baltimore and product of the Glenville State Pioneers said Monday the workload of a first-team player has indeed been a factor.

"It's been going good," Parker said. "I'm just trying to learn the plays, learn the position on the fly, not so much on the fly, but day-by-day, and getting used to the position and getting back to how I played in college."

At Glenville State, Parker was voted all-conference three straight years.

"It (the Bombers defence) is kind of the same as last year but the scheme is different, some of the calls are different, things like that."

Parker's eyes lit up when asked about how much progress he's made in one year.

"Last year, man, it's night and day," he said. "Last year I'm in Germany somewhere."

That was in reference to his one-season stay in the German Football League, where he started all 12 games in 2010.

In 2011, he went back to school to complete his business administration degree, coached a little, and, "I was working out, trying to get an opportunity."

Which is now here.

Parker said much of it is thanks to Bowman's mentorship.

"We talk all the time," Parker smiled. "He's my boy. He's doing good. He's progressing (knee surgery), trying to get back healthy. He's doing good.

"He taught me everything. He's the reason ... how I learned to slow the game down, process the calls and get used to the CFL game. He taught me a lot. (I was) just sitting back learning from the best the league."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2013 C2

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