Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–3–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New defensive guru looks only at future

Not set back by short, winless Gee Gees gig

  • Print

BRADENTON, Fla. -- If you were thinking getting fired from his last job after just five games had humbled Gary Etcheverry, well, think again.

The new defensive co-ordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was defiant here Sunday when asked about his brief -- and winless -- stint in 2012 as head coach of the University of Ottawa Gee Gees football team.

Asked how the Ottawa experience -- in which he was abruptly fired after opening the 2012 season at 0-5 -- had changed him as a coach, Etcheverry invoked the memory of one of the world's most famous firings. "Kind of the way maybe getting fired by the company he founded changed Steve Jobs 11 years later when he went back to save Apple," Etcheverry said Sunday on Day 1 of the Bombers' first-ever spring mini-camp in Florida.

"They weren't ready for me, and I wasn't ready for them."

Well then.

It was one of just two Apple references Etcheverry invoked Sunday in what were his first public comments to the Winnipeg media since he was hired as the Bombers' new DC in February. "People always talk about a playbook. We don't have a playbook," Etcheverry said in reference to his unique -- and famously confusing -- defence.

"Well, when you used to have a VCR you had a playbook like this," Etcheverry continued, holding his hands several inches apart, "and you still couldn't set the damn clock. And nowadays if you have an Apple product, what's the playbook? What's the user manual?

"But they say we're behind the times because we don't have a playbook? S , we're so far behind the times we're ahead of the times."

Confidence

What emerged here Sunday is that the Bombers have secured for themselves a new defensive co-ordinator who, if nothing else, is certainly not lacking in confidence.

But then why would he be? Now in his 35th year in coaching, the 57-year-old Etcheverry has coached everywhere from college to Europe to the NFL to 10 years in the CFL, which included a brief stint as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 2002.

A Grey Cup winner in 1997 with the Argos and more recently the architect of stingy defences in Saskatchewan from 2008-10, Etcheverry is considered a master of a defence that can best be described as organized chaos, with defenders expected to play all over the field and in strangely named positions such as rover.

"I believe he's thought more about football than a lot of people and he's thought about it in a lot of different ways," says Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea, who played under Etcheverry in Toronto. "He's very thorough in his thought process on how defensive football should be played and how offensive football should be played."

The admiration is mutual. "I've told people that there's nobody that I've worked with at any point in time that I've had more respect for," Etcheverry said of O'Shea. "It's very exciting. Certainly he's elated and I am for him. Our job now is to get us to where we need to be."

So how will he do that? With fleet and finely tuned athletes, instead of the physical behemoths so commonly associated with CFL defences, Etcheverry says. "We do a lot of things that require interchangeability among our players, so we can't have a bunch of 300-pounders out there, because they can't run on this big-ass field...

"We cause confusion, there's no question about it," Etcheverry continued. "We want to be multiple, and to be multiple you gotta have interchangeable athletes... Multiple everything. Multiple alignments, multiple movements, multiple coverages, multiple, multiple, multiple...

"If we're gonna err, we're gonna err on the side of speed."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2014 C4

History

Updated on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 6:47 AM CDT: Adds photo

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

Maurice Leggett on his three inceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Who has been the Bombers MVP so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google