Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–6–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers give new digs a workout: The Burke identity

In a nutshell, coach expects honest effort

  • Print
Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke watches over the action.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke watches over the action.

Tim Burke never got the chance to do this a year ago. One day late last August he reported to work as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive co-ordinator and left as the head coach.

Yes, if there's such a thing as a two-minute drill for coaches, he lived it right through to the end of the season.

And so there might have been some piqued interest Sunday morning -- both from inside the Bomber clubhouse and for outsiders -- as to what Day 1 of the Bombers' 2013 training camp might look and feel like, given Burke had his first real opportunity to put his own stamp on things.

A quick, first take? There were no gimmicks. There wasn't a constant barking from a boss trying to make himself the centrepiece. And there certainly were no attempts to reinvent a game built on decades of meticulous drilling and repetition.

'Basically, if you're going to have the honour to wear this jersey and put this helmet on, this is what he expects. That's fair'

-- Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce

It was, to sum up, all business all the time for Burke & Co. And what's the old saying about a team taking on the identity of its head coach?

"I'm just me," said Burke with a shrug after practice. "I don't try to be somebody I'm not. I believe in discipline and I believe you've got to put everything out there that you've got ability-wise. But I also believe you should be having fun and that your teammates and your coaches should be your friends."

Two snippets from Sunday speak to that: First, veteran tackle Glenn January described Burke as old school meets players' coach. And, second, in a three-minute chat quarterback Buck Pierce used the word "honest" a half-dozen times in describing his head coach.

"It's black and white, it's all laid out there. There's no gray area with coach Burke," said Pierce. "Basically, if you're going to have the honour to wear this jersey and put this helmet on, this is what he expects. That's fair. That's the way it should be."

Now, all of this is what you might expect when the curtain lifts on a new campaign. Spirits are always soaring when the standings are wiped clean and any of the series of crises each season provides have yet to threaten or topple the scheduled daily regimen.

And, frankly, with an incomplete grade from a year ago -- the Bombers lost their first three games under his watch by a combined score of 121-27 but were 4-3 in their last seven -- there are still some unanswered questions about Burke, the head coach.

What is clear, however, is this: there should be no questions about his approach or his expectations -- a point he drilled home in his address to the team Saturday night.

"Team first," explained Burke. "Everybody pulling in the same direction, which is competitive greatness. Everybody works for their personal best every day and if everybody achieves their personal best every day then the team will achieve competitive greatness, And when we achieve competitive greatness the score will take care of itself.

"That's my whole philosophy in a nutshell."

OK, so it's a little wordy to fit on the back of a T-shirt, but you get the gist. And so should the 80-plus men who are trying to crack the roster.

"He really emphasized accountability and professionalism," said January of Burke's pre-camp speech. "He wanted to make sure that everyone understood this is a job and we're going to be held to the same standards as anyone else that holds a position with any company across Canada. He also reminded us this is a position that is in high demand and we could easily be replaced.

"It wasn't a threat, it was just a friendly reminder that this is a competitive profession and we have to act like professionals.

"You know," January added, "I'm excited to see how this team grows underneath him."

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 3, 2013 D1

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

Gail Asper says museum honours her father’s vision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

 

Poll

Do you think Ray Rice should be given a lifetime ban from the NFL?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google