Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Coombs relishes return home for pro debut

Ex-Bisons star to suit up for visiting Argos

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Anthony Coombs returns home to Investors Group Field tonight for the kickoff of the 2014 CFL season, but this time as a member of the Toronto Argonaut.

It will be Coombs' second time squaring off with his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers since being selected third overall in the 2014 CFL Draft in May.

"I asked for 12 (tickets) but I got 10," Coombs said to the media before an Argonauts practice on Wednesday. "I'm pretty happy about that, just enough for friends and family, nothing too crazy."

It's been a hectic two and half months for the former University of Manitoba Bisons star running back. After being one of the most sought-after prospects, the 21-year-old and youngest player on the Argonauts roster, immediately went into his first professional training camp and impressed.

He said the experience of his first regular-season pro game almost feels like "déj vu," having clashed with the Bombers just two weeks ago in a pre-season game, but this time it's for keeps.

"It's weird," Coombs said of being across the hall from his former Bisons locker-room. "We actually just walked in there and took a short little tour, it brought back a few memories. But like I said, I really got a huge reality of pro life and it's already sunk in that, you know, I'm a part of the Toronto Argonauts."

Throughout training camp, Coombs roomed with former Bisons teammate and now fellow Argonaut Thomas Miles, who was selected 33rd overall in the draft. He said it was nice to have someone he knew alongside him throughout the process, but it didn't make the transition any easier.

Coombs noted the challenging transition from university football to the professional game as both physical and mental. He said it's faster, a lot faster, and there's another level of strategy involved.

"You need to think more about what you have to do and once you start thinking you start slowing down," said Coombs, who is expected to see playing time tonight against the Bombers.

"Those combined, I've just been trying to eliminate the thinking process on the field so I can play as fast as I can. So that's the thing I've been focusing on the most is just knowing my assignments and my alignments in the playbook."

Coombs doesn't have a brother but he said if he did, dressing up in blue and white to take on his brother in blue and gold is what it feels like. And he wants to win.

"Kind of like a hometown rivalry, you really want to beat them more than any other team, but I'm happy with the organization I'm at right now and it's going to be a lot of fun on Thursday," said Coombs.

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2014 D2

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