Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

O'Shea's first speech a winner

Blue coach impresses vets with words

  • Print
Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea is a man of few words, but those words all count when he does say something, his players agree.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea is a man of few words, but those words all count when he does say something, his players agree. Photo Store

Korey Banks has played for a lot of coaches over a long career in pro football, including 11 years in the CFL with three-going-on-four organizations.

Ditto Glenn January and Ejiro Kuale, both of whom have been around long enough to have experienced the joy and pain the game offers.

And that experienced trio will tell you this: whether a coach realizes it or not, his first address to the team is absolutely, positively monumental. It's a tone-setter. And it can also give a glimpse at the boss' expectations and at his personality.

"That first speech, it really breaks the ice," said Banks Sunday after his first practice as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber and first under new head coach Mike O'Shea. "It's big because you can lose a locker-room with something you say right away. You say the wrong thing and the guys are looking at you funny and then you get a separation in the locker-room... and that ain't good.

"And then there are some coaches who get up there for their first speech and, just because they've had some success, they get on a pedestal and talk to the players like they're lesser men. Everybody's a man here. You've got to keep that in perspective."

Now maybe it says something about O'Shea that he didn't spend a lot of time thinking about what would make up the meat of the introductory speech Saturday night to the team. Asked what the theme was, O'Shea said it was mostly administrative and was simply part of a series of introductions that included everyone from president Wade Miller to media relations director Darren Cameron.

"Speeches can be pretty contrived," said O'Shea. "When something happens and I recognize it, I'm going to say it right then and there. To just set aside a block of time to stand at the pulpit and preach to the guys who know what they want to do anyway...

"We all want to win so I don't know that we have to talk about it a lot."

Still, even if his address was off the cuff, it did make an impact on Banks, Kuale and January. Yes, sometimes simple can be effective, too.

"It was a real short speech, straight to the point," said Kuale. "He just said this is a big year for everybody to turn around this organization. He wants effort and a winning mentality. It was all about winning.

"He's a man of very few words. And so when he does speak, everybody listens because it's usually very important."

O'Shea's first official practice of main training camp didn't look dramatically different than others by Bomber coaches over the years. There were a few new wrinkles in terms of drills and it was fast-paced and intense. Banks said he had never had back-to-back camp practices in his career before -- the Bombers started at 8:30 a.m. and finished around 1 p.m. -- while Kuale was lamenting his decision to try to break in a new set of cleats on Day 1.

"Big mistake," he said with a grin. "My feet are sore."

But while the new boss let his assistants do the yelling and coaching, there was also very little doubt about who was in charge. O'Shea bopped around from group to group to study their work and when he addressed the team afterwards, there wasn't one set of wandering eyes.

"What I remember playing with him was, he was a coach on the field," said January. "It was a amazing the way he commanded the field, commanded the locker-room. He had the respect of everybody and, to be honest, sometimes he was kind of a jerk. That says a lot because he was a guy that wasn't afraid to tell you what was on his mind and he had the ability to tell a guy who was screwing up to get in line and shape up."

Now, all of this is well and good on June 1, when every CFL team talks boldly of the playoffs and a deep November run. Ultimately, O'Shea -- just like Tim Burke, Paul LaPolice, Mike Kelly and Doug Berry before him -- will be judged by wins and losses.

But good first impressions can be lasting, too.

"A coach has to put his DNA on the organization," said Banks. "If he doesn't, if he leaves that up to somebody else, well, you know what happens then. It's gotta be like Frank Sinatra; 'Do it My Way.' A coach can't have any regrets.

"His speech, it was honest. Look, everybody wants to win here. The job is already hard enough and nobody wants to come here and win just three games. Nobody wants to underachieve like that. It's going to be a work in progress, a day-to-day grind. And Day 1 was good."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2014 C3

History

Updated on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 2:31 PM CDT: Corrects quote.

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: God Rest Ye Premier Selinger

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google