Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Goossen ready to ride

Bombers' first pick in CFL Draft feels he has the stuff to start right away at centre

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had two criteria for their second-overall pick in Tuesday night's CFL Draft -- he had to be able to play centre and he had to be able to play immediately. Simon Fraser University product Mathias Goossen (6-4, 294, Richmond, B.C.) thinks he is a perfect fit on both fronts -- and Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea hopes his team's newest first-rounder is right.

"He fully expects to come in and start," O'Shea said of Goossen Tuesday night. "But being as young as he is (21) -- there's a little bit of a difference (in the CFL). So we don't want to stick him in and ruin him -- get him shell-shocked and ruin his confidence.

"But if he shows us in camp what he believes he's going to show us -- and what we think he can do... then he'll be in there."

So, what does Goossen think? "It's beyond words -- it's a dream I've worked for the last 15 years of my life and it's great to see it culminate here," Goossen said in a conference call with reporters shortly after his selection.

Yeah, but can he start right away?

"I think right now I'm just going to go to camp and work as hard as possible and just try to get better every day," Goossen replied. "And if the coaches want to put me as a starter, that'd be great. But right now, I'm just trying to get to camp and contribute to the team."

The Bombers need a centre after the man who used to do that job for them -- Justin Sorenson -- signed with Edmonton as a free agent during the off-season.

The Calgary Stampeders acquired the first- overall pick in an 11th hour trade with the Ottawa Redblacks just prior to the start of the draft and used it to select the other centre the Bombers were looking at -- Laval's Pierre Lavertu.

The Bombers flew both Lavertu and Goossen to Winnipeg for private workouts at Investors Group Field a few weeks ago and Goossen came away impressed with the Bombers organization.

"I had a really good time in Winnipeg," said Goossen. "The facilities are second to none and I was really impressed how the coaches came across. I'm hearing from other players how things have changed there... I know it will be a great year."

Goossen was ranked ninth overall by the CFL Scouting Bureau, but was widely expected to go with one of the first two picks.

Meanwhile, quarterback Kevin Glenn was traded by the Redblacks Tuesday night to the B.C. Lions for B.C.'s fifth-overall selection.

Winnipeg had also been interested in acquiring Glenn as an insurance policy for the 2014 season, but considered Ottawa's asking price -- which at one point was Winnipeg's second overall pick -- too steep.

With Glenn now off the market, Bombers GM Kyle Walters reiterated Tuesday night he feels good about going into training camp June 1 with the same four quarterbacks the team auditioned at mini-camp in Florida last month -- Drew Willy, Max Hall, Brian Brohm and Robert Marve.

"We're ready to roll. At the quarterback position, we're ready to go," said Walters.

The Bombers struggled at the draft under previous GM Joe Mack and Walters was making his debut at the controls this year. His head coach thought it went well.

"Every team is going to say the same thing, that they're very happy," said O'Shea. "We sat and looked at our board versus everybody else's and we're excited. We're more than pleased and more than satisfied. We look at these names and we're excited about these guys coming in."

"We targeted a few guys, we traded up to get a guy... it was a productive night for us," added Walters. "We're very excited with the way we set up our draft board with the way things fell together."

Twitter: @PaulWiecek



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2014 C1

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