Blue Bomber Report Record: 4–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New Blue offence

Bellefeuille makes many changes in short order

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GUELPH, Ont. -- One of the interesting questions surrounding the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the past week has been: How much, really, can newly installed offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille be expected to change?

The answer, it turns out, is actually quite a lot.

Bombers QB Max Hall -- who will be making his second start at Alumni Stadium today against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- estimated "probably 50 per cent" of the Bombers offence has been changed since Bellefeuille took over from Gary Crowton last Sunday as the team's new offensive co-ordinator.

"He kept some stuff but added some in. And what he did do is narrow it down a bit so we don't have quite as much," Hall said Friday afternoon shortly after his team's arrival in Hamilton's adopted home for the 2013 CFL season.

While that sounds like a tremendous amount of playbook change to absorb in a week -- potentially setting up a recipe for failure here today -- Hall said Bellefeuille made the changes easily digestible.

"I think he did a good job of keeping the concepts the same and naming them the same. So I don't think it's too much for the guys to handle," said Hall, who went 18-30 for 241 yards, one TD and two interceptions in a 37-18 Bombers loss to Hamilton last Friday at Investors Group Field.

Bellefeuille, of course, used to be the head coach of the Ticats and his return here as the Bombers offensive co-ordinator provides an interesting little subplot to this afternoon's game.

The Ticats have handed the Bombers two of their six losses this season and it would seemingly be sweet retribution should the Bombers turn the tables and win today under Bellefeuille, who the Ticats fired in 2011 after he led the team to an appearance that season in the East final, which was won by Winnipeg.

But if a win today over the team that fired him would be extra sweet for Bellefeuille, he wasn't exactly admitting it Friday.

"You always want to play well against your previous team and I understand all that," said Bellefeuille. "But the reality is that it's a completely different situation. It's not like I went somewhere else, I'd been there all off-season and prepared and now we're going back to Ivor Wynne (Stadium).

"Number one -- the location is different. Number two -- I've been on the job five days. So I don't have that sense and I don't feel that way about it, to be honest with you."

Ticats head coach Kent Austin was asked during his media availability if he canvassed the Ticats staff this week for any insights into what schemes the team's former head coach might use against them today.

"We've done that. But I think, realistically. all the good coaches will modify what they do," said Austin. "We've done our due diligence in those areas in respect to Marcel. But I'm sure he will have some things that will be (a surprise) for us, like we will for them."

This is the second of five home-and-home series the Bombers have this season and Austin was asked if he subscribes to the commonly held belief that it is tough to beat the same team two weeks in row.

True to form, the prickly Austin wanted nothing to do with any superstitions.

"Honestly, I've never done the research, I couldn't tell you. I'm not sure where that comes from," said Austin. "I don't pay attention to it. It's just not relevant."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 24, 2013 C3

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