September 24, 2019

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Bombers taking shape at camp

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Chris Streveler hands off to Nic Demski at training camp in Winnipeg Monday.</p>

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Chris Streveler hands off to Nic Demski at training camp in Winnipeg Monday.

Receiver Nic Demski has been impressed with all the new faces at training camp and the fire it has brought over the past week as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers work through two-a-day practices. But as important as it is to have reliable newcomers, it’s the number of returning players that has him feeling good about the 2019 season.

“You’ve always got to have those camp battles because that’s just going to bring up the intensity, it’s going to bring up the competitiveness,” Demski said Thursday, following Day 4 of workouts at IG Field.

“Our motto here is just ‘Compete. Compete. Compete.’ That continuity, just having guys come back, it just does a lot for the leadership in the dressing room.”

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Receiver Nic Demski has been impressed with all the new faces at training camp and the fire it has brought over the past week as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers work through two-a-day practices. But as important as it is to have reliable newcomers, it’s the number of returning players that has him feeling good about the 2019 season.

"You’ve always got to have those camp battles because that’s just going to bring up the intensity, it’s going to bring up the competitiveness," Demski said Thursday, following Day 4 of workouts at IG Field.

"Our motto here is just ‘Compete. Compete. Compete.’ That continuity, just having guys come back, it just does a lot for the leadership in the dressing room."

Winnipeg Blue Bomber Chris Matthews looks on at opening day of training camp.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Blue Bomber Chris Matthews looks on at opening day of training camp.

Demski, who re-signed with the Bombers in February after spending the 2018 season with his hometown Bombers team, also credited general manager Kyle Walters for bringing back a familiar face in receiver Chris Matthews. Matthews started his CFL career in Winnipeg, earning rookie-of-the-year honours in 2012 before bolting to the NFL a year later. He signed a three-year deal with the Bombers earlier this month.

"Him coming in here and having a decent grasp on the playbook, we’re on the right path," Demski said.

Matthews played for Bombers offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice during his rookie season, and he recalled how creative he was back then. Now that he’s had the chance to see the playbook for this season, he’s even more impressed with the potential it brings the offence.

"He’s a genius," Matthews said. "He knows what he’s doing, and it shows when you get out on the field. He’s definitely a good coach and I’m excited to come back and work with him again."

 

FILLING A ROLE: Canadian Jeff Hecht was a free agent when he signed during Week 5 last season as an replacement for the injured Derek Jones, one of the club’s aces on special teams and a backup safety.

Bombers Defensive Back Jeff Hecht.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Bombers Defensive Back Jeff Hecht.

Following the off-season departure of all-star safety Taylor Loffler to the Montreal Alouettes, Hecht finds himself battling with Jones for Loffler’s old job.

"I’m excited — I love opportunity," Hecht, 33, said. "I tell everyone if I’m given an opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it. In the CFL, coming in after training camp, whether that’s in Week 4 or Week 1 or Week 2, it’s always tougher to make your case for why you should be playing more. Every player thinks they should be playing more. If I took 59 snaps in game and there were 60, I’d be upset at myself.

"How can I earn that other snap? Because that’s just how winners think. I always think I can do more, contribute more."

 

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: linebacker Adam Bighill, the CFL’s defensive MVP in 2018, watched the first four days of training camp and came away raving about some of the new talent.

Blue Bombers' Adam Bighill at training camp.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Blue Bombers' Adam Bighill at training camp.

"I think this is one of the most talented camps I’ve been around," said the 30-year-old Bighill, who is beginning his second season in Winnipeg. "As far as the rookies brought in, draft picks brought in, I’m very impressed with the guys out there."

Bighill singled out defensive linemen Connor Griffiths, a third-round draft pick in 2019 out of UBC, and Steven Richardson, a 23-year-old American rookie from the University of Minnesota.

"He’s making a ton of plays on the D-line," said Bighill of Richardson.

"Phenomenal player."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 10:36 PM CDT: Adds photos

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