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Bombers' Garber still holds grudge

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/8/2012 (1816 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

YOU know how fired football coaches will often talk about how their former teams decided to go in a "different direction" and how there's no hard feelings and everyone is still friends?

Chip Garber is not one of them.

Garber is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebackers coach who also became the team's de facto defensive co-ordinator over the weekend when DC Tim Burke was promoted to interim head coach to replace the fired Paul LaPolice.

Garber, who was the Toronto Argonauts defensive co-ordinator in 2010 and into 2011, until he was fired mid-season by then Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker.

With Garber now taking on more responsibility for the Bombers defence, it didn't take long for reporters to corner him after practice on Wednesday and ask him what happened last year in Toronto, where just a year earlier Garber's defence gave up the fewest points in the league.

"I think the used car salesman who was running the whole operation, yeah -- ultimately I don't know if it was a great decision because he got fired at the end of the year, too," Garber said, referring to Barker.

"He fires the (offensive co-ordinator), he fires the starting quarterback and then he gets fired at the end of the year... He wanted to go with a younger guy and somebody who'd played in the league. And that's his prerogative. But like I said, he's not coaching anymore either."

So, still some hard feelings then?

"Sure. Any time anybody gets rid of you when you don't feel like you deserve it... I wouldn't say Jim and I exchange Christmas cards, that's for sure."

Barker wasn't technically fired as Argos head coach. He stepped down at the end of the 2011 season to make way for Scott Milanovich, but did keep his duties as the team's general manager.

The Argos and Bombers will face each other two more times this season -- here on Sept. 29 and there on Oct. 19 -- and those games just became a lot more interesting. That's especially so now that Garber will have a much more pronounced role with the Bombers defence.

Burke said Wednesday Garber will now handle the defence on game day.

"I will throw in my two cents every now and then. We'll make up the game plan together... he'll call it on game day,", said Burke.

Garber said he thinks the transition shouldn't be too onerous.

"I'm sure there will be a few glitches or something now and then," said Garber, "but for the most part things should run pretty smoothly."

Which is more or less what the other Bombers assistant coach who picked up more responsibility over the weekend were saying. Offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton finds himself with the unenviable task of being almost solely responsible for the same underperforming Bombers offence that general manager Joe Mack cited as one of the reasons he fired LaPolice.

So what's that like -- the man who hired you just got fired?

"I feel like I was brought here not just by Paul but by Joe," Crowton replied, "and I've made myself comfortable and the people around me comfortable so I feel a part of the Winnipeg program."

Crowton has reams of college experience and was the offensive co-ordinator of the Chicago Bears for two seasons, but his entire CFL resumé is nothing more than this season. So with LaPolice no longer around to serve as a mentor and wingman to Crowton on the three-down game, Crowton was asked what is comfort level is heading into Sunday's game in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"I'm glad he was there and glad he taught me what he taught me," said Crowton of LaPolice. "I appreciate him, but I'm going to move forward and take the things that he taught me and use the things that I know and make this thing work."

today's bomber report D2

Read more by Paul Wiecek.


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