December 8, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
PUNCHING THE CLOCK
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke says as far as he knows, it will be business as usual for him at the Bombers offices next week.
Burke says he's been given no indication regarding his future by his superiors, so he intends to report for duty as usual following the Bombers final game of the 2013 season today at Investors Group Field against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
"I'm getting paid, so I'm going to do my job," Burke told reporters Friday following an abbreviated, light practice -- his team's last of the year -- at IGF.
And Burke might be doing that job for awhile yet. While he's widely expected to be fired at the end of a season in which the Bombers have won just three of their first 17 games, Burke says a simple look at the Bombers current corporate structure tells him the team is still not ready to make any coaching decisions.
"I think first of all, Wade (Miller) is the acting CEO. So he would have to be named the CEO. And then after that, he'd have to hire the GM. And then the GM would have to hire or fire the coach," said Burke.
Until all that happens, Burke said he's going to spend his time at the Bombers offices doing the post-season work every head coach is expected to do.
"Sunday, we'll have our final meeting with the players and talk to them about how they can get better and all that," said Burke. "And then after that, we'll do free-agent evaluations, evaluations of our own team, how we're going to set ourselves up for the dispersal draft, things like that."
But first, the Bombers will have to play one final time against a Ticats team that is 3-0 versus the Bombers this season, but who will be resting many of their key starters in a game that is meaningless to Hamilton, who've already clinched second place in the East.
Ticats head coach Kent Austin told reporters in Winnipeg Friday that tailback CJ Gable and slotback Andy Fantuz will be among the starters who sit out today. And Austin said QB Henry Burris will start the game, but won't finish.
Burris said how long he plays is dependent on how well he plays.
"I think it's all based on having early success. If we come out, do some good things, put some points on the board, finish off drives, leave a good taste in Kent's mouth -- I'm pretty sure he'll get us off sooner than later."
BY THE NUMBERS
31,177 -- Average attendance through eight regular-season home dates at Investors Group Field in 2013.
29,556 -- Previous franchise record for average attendance.
About 27,000 -- Number of tickets expected to be sold for today's game versus the Ticats.
A lot less than 27,000 -- Actual number of fans expected to attend today.
Today's game is the final one the Bombers will play in the East Division. The club moves back to the West Division in 2014 after spending the last eight seasons in the East. Winnipeg is moving West to make room for the new Ottawa Redblacks franchise next year.
A LOT ON THE LINE
If the Bombers beat Hamilton today, they will finish with a 2013 regular season record of 4-14. That would match the record Winnipeg recorded in 2010.
FEAST OR FAMINE FOR D
The CFL stats bureau points out it's been feast or famine against the Bombers defence the past five weeks for opposing offences.
The Bombers D held its opposition to under 300 yards of offence in three of those games, but in two others gave up 622 yards to Calgary and 587 yards to Toronto.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2013 C2