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Bombers coaching staff to remain unchanged for 2023 campaign

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All signs point to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers heading into 2023 with the exact same coaching staff from last season.

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All signs point to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers heading into 2023 with the exact same coaching staff from last season.

It’s a huge win for the Blue and Gold as it’s not easy for successful teams to retain all of their co-ordinators and assistants.

Mike O’Shea, who’s in Kananaskis, Alta., for CFL’s winter meetings, told the Free Press by phone Tuesday they’re in the final stages of finalizing everyone’s deals.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files

Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea: They’re good guys

That would mean offensive co-ordinator Buck Pierce, defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall, and special teams co-ordinator Paul Boudreau aren’t going anywhere, and the same can be said for position coaches Marty Costello (offensive line), Kevin Bourgoin (receivers), Jason Hogan (running backs), Jordan Younger (defensive backs), James Stanley (linebackers), and Darrell Patterson (defensive line).

“I think there’s an easy argument for continuity with this group. I believe they put together good plans, they collaborate with the players well, they collaborate as a staff well, they’re hardworking individuals, and they’re good guys,” said O’Shea.

“They’re good to be around in our coaching room. The overriding factor is they’re all talented coaches. So once again, I do believe that continuity is pretty important and is one of the things that I believe our organization believes in.”

The good news for O’Shea and Co. is the majority of the roster will likely be back as well. However, a challenge for O’Shea’s staff will be handling a team that has a long list of players that are over the age of 30 who are coming off of three deep playoff runs. The group, one that includes quarterback Zach Collaros (34), left tackle Stanley Bryant (36), linebacker Adam Bighill (34) and defensive end Willie Jefferson (32) just to name a few, showed no signs of slowing down last year, but you never know when Father Time is going to leave his mark.

“I think if you look around there’s a lot of position groups that really hit their stride when they get to be a certain age. The conversations are interesting,” said O’Shea.

“When your team gets a little bit older, the conversations are about how players adapt their off-seasons and how coaching staffs adapt practice routines and training camps. So, I think it’s all quite doable, I just don’t think we can run the same training camp that we ran maybe in Year 2.”

O’Shea talks about brief NFL stint

The Detroit Lions were the talk of the professional football world Sunday night as they crushed the playoff hopes of the Green Bay Packers by marching into Lambeau Field and coming away with a 20-16 victory in the regular season finale.

The NFL’s version of the Lions are a team that O’Shea has some history with as the former linebacker was invited to training camp in 1996 after three standout seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. O’Shea ended up being a final cut before returning to the CFL and signing with the Toronto Argonauts.

Fewer than 30 Canadians played in the NFL in the 1990s.

“I got cut, so, that’s what I thought about. I thought about what I should’ve done differently, how I could’ve done it better, and why I didn’t make good with an opportunity. I certainly wasn’t patting myself on the back by any means. I got cut which hadn’t happened in a while I guess so it was one of those things that just gave you time to reflect and think about your next move,” said O’Shea.

“I grew up in the Canadian game so I didn’t have a lot of experience with the four-down game. I believe if I could’ve stayed around on the practice roster for a little bit and learned the game better, I believed I could’ve been successful, but I didn’t perform well enough to earn that right, to earn that opportunity to stick around.”

And no, O’Shea didn’t get a chance to try to tackle legendary running back Barry Sanders.

“It was absolutely understood that you never touched him in practice. I tried to stay away from him,” laughed O’Shea.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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