Blue Bomber Report Record: 5–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kowalczuk snaps right to it

Has to pick up the centre position in a hurry

  • Print

Works in progress, unfinished business of any sort, often carry positive and negative distinctions.

Consider that thought when examining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive line, a group that will see two new starters (guard Chris Greaves and centre Chris Kowalczuk) and two players from the 2011 campaign switching places (Glenn January moves to left tackle; Andre Douglas moves to right) for the coming season.

Work still needs to be done, but forget about the doom and gloom. Finding mid-season form in June is rare, so no sense in fretting about the pounding quarterback Buck Pierce may receive through six days of camp.

If you're going to make mistakes, make 'em now, says one veteran lineman.

"Definitely, with new faces in there, it's not going to come together overnight," right guard Steve Morley said after the workout at Canad Inns Stadium Friday. "We're not there yet but we're coming together."

This guarded optimism is the perfect segue for Kowalczuk, who despite some struggles appears to the Bombers centre in these early stages. The 27-year-old, who has no CFL experience outside of two pre-season games at guard (2011), has been working diligently at his assumed profession, trying to understand the nuances of the middle as the regular season grows larger on the horizon.

Kowalczuk was asked by the Bombers to start taking snaps last July. He missed a chunk of time with a serious ankle injury, though, but continued to work on his new craft during the winter, staying in Winnipeg to train with other linemen. When Obby Khan retired in April, the team told Kowalczuk that he'd be in the mix (along with Justin Sorensen) for the centre position.

And while Sorensen did take a few first-team reps in the middle Friday, the gig is Kowalczuk's to lose.

"It's been a long path, from not snapping at all to right now, where all I do is snap," he said. "Mentally, the position has slowed down quite a bit for me. I'm processing things a lot faster now. It's come a long way, that's for sure."

After delivering a clean snap and protecting the quarterback, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Kowalczuk says his biggest challenge is making the right call to the line. He needs to identify the substitutions on defence and bark out the right protection based on those changes. The wrong call could result in scraping Pierce off the turf seconds later, so identification of the situation is paramount.

To assist in this, the Bombers coaches have asked Morley -- who LaPolice identified as a backup centre Friday -- to help the sophomore when he notices something Kowalczuk's eyes may miss.

"I'll make the call out there, too, sometimes, and get it out there quick," the seven-year CFL veteran said. "If Chris has a question about something, I'll help him out that way. That's what the coaches want us to do. We have a lot of new faces in the group, so the more guys talking and making sure everyone is on the same page the better it will be."

LaPolice said the coaches asked all the veteran linemen to help educate the youngsters through this current O-line turnover.

The Bombers need the University of Toronto product to fall into the 'sooner' category. There have been some growing pains this week but that said, the Bombers picked a good time to bring Kowalczuk up to speed in his new position, as three weeks of daily training camp workouts and a pair of pre-season games should give him enough exposure before the start of the season.

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @wazoowazny

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2012 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google