Bombers fall in pre-season opener
WINNIPEG—Head coach Mike O’Shea checked himself as he was describing how he felt about a pass interference rule change that was a contributing factor to his Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 24-22 pre-season loss to the Toronto Argos last night.
Toronto coach Scott Milanovich was the first in the CFL to avail himself of the chance to challenge the officials failure to rule pass interference on a play and subject it to video review.
“It worked out well for Coach Milanovich,” said O’Shea. “And . . . I believe it was pass interference.
“The rule worked and do I like the rule? Not really,” he added.
“There might be some problems with it at some point.”
But O’Shea cut himself off when asked to go any further.
“I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about it,” he remarked.
The loss hurt but O’Shea was happy with a lot of what he saw on the field.
The Bombers saw CFL rookie running backs Paris Cotton and Nic Grigsby deliver some of the same stuff they’ve flashed in practice, and Canadian receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino scored his first touchdown.
They also got solid performances from the two players auditioning for the kicking job.
Slaton, meanwhile, also was happy after his performance. And while it was only a pre-season game, he said a win is always worth something.
“Yeah, everybody’s competing for jobs,” he said of the solid performance of some Argos’ rookies.
Toronto got a few good carries from running back Jeremiah Johnson, those two touchdowns from Slaton, and a solid first quarter out of quarterback Trevor Harris, not a rookie but a likely candidate to move up to Ricky Ray’s No. 1 back-up this season.
Harris completed eight-of-12 throws for 81 yards.
Drew Willy debuted as the starting quarterback for the Bombers. He completed six of his 12 passing attempts for 108 yards and one touchdown before he left the game.
“It’s fun to get out and play in a real game with these guys,” he noted.
Running back Anthony Coombs also got to appear in front of a hometown crowd yesterday as a CFL player for the first time, although not in a Bombers’ uniform.
The former University of Manitoba Bison was drafted by the Argos third overall this year.
He had six carries for 19 yards rushing, another four yards on a punt return, and 30 on a kick-off return.
“Any role that they put me in I just want to help the team,” Coombs said.
“They’ve got me on some special teams, some running back,” he noted.
“I’m very versatile so whatever they see fit that I can contribute the most, I’ll be more than willing to do to help us win.”
Coombs also said he had few friends in the stands. The Bisons share Investors Group Field with the Bombers and is located on the university campus.
“The response was good. I had a couple of cheers.”
In related news, the CFL Players Association is expected to vote this week on a tentative contract with the league that may determine whether the pre-season, or regular season, continues beyond last night.
Glenn January is Winnipeg’s CFL players’ rep and he said he doesn’t know when the vote will be held.
“My job as a player rep is just to inform the guys,” he noted.
“I’m not here to sway them one way or the other.
“We’ll definitely sit down tomorrow [Tuesday] and hammer everything out, and have a nice little session of discussions and see where we go from there,” January added.