It’s been a pretty quiet off-season for the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The biggest move the Bombers made in free agency was making sure they got freak defensive end Willie Jefferson under contract.
That doesn’t mean the Bombers don’t have to deal with some change.
The biggest change is actually on their coaching staff with offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice leaving them to become the new head coach of the Ottawa Redblacks.
Taking over for LaPolice will be the team’s previous quarterbacks coach Buck Pierce.
“There will be some changes. He’s going to add his flavour to the offence. I think that will be a good thing,” head coach Mike O’Shea told TSN 1290.
There’s no doubt that Pierce has some big shoes to fill.
Even though the buck stops with Pierce on offence, the first-time offensive coordinator isn’t building the new offence by himself.
“We’ve never worked that way. Everybody understands that you want as many good ideas from as many good people as possible. No one in our building believes they’re the smartest one in the room,” said O’Shea.
“The offensive staff is in right now. There’s the four guys that are working hard. They’re working on plays and concepts. They’re looking at opponent film. They’re studying other teams. They’re studying other leagues. They check a lot of things we’ve done for validity and then they look at other great ideas that other smart people have and see how it fits. Eventually what comes about by the end of April is a playbook you can present to the players.”
Another big change on offence for the blue and gold is the departure of quarterback Matt Nichols. The Bombers chose to re-sign Zach Collaros who they acquired ahead of the CFL trade deadline, putting Nichols on the outside looking in. He ended up signing in Toronto.
O’Shea says even though the change was a business decision, it’s still tough to see Nichols go.
“Matt starting was the beginning of this turnaround for this franchise. My fate would have been different if he didn’t come in and play so well for us and give us everything he had. I told him that,” said O’Shea.
“I thanked him personally from myself and my family let alone the organization. That’s the kind of level of play and professionalism and excellence he displayed every single day.”