WINNIPEG- Winnipeg Blue Bombers opened their main training camp on Sunday in front of a few hundred fans at Investors Group Field and head coach Mike O’Shea couldn’t have been happier.
“They practiced very professionally, they flew around, I thought it was a very clean practice. I didn’t see a lot of issues, I didn’t see any of the coaches getting worried about the errors, I thought we stayed onside fairly well and there’s a lot to like about that” said the third year Bomber coach.
On whether O’Shea notices a more optimistic or different “vibe” in the room this season given all the positive moves the club made in the off-season, Oshea said “I haven’t noted that. I mean I think the last couple of years we have high expectations which we haven’t met. Maybe there’s more of a belief that they can meet those expectations but I haven’t noted that.”
The head coach was particularly pleased with the work ethic the players demonstrated on day one. That’s the theme O’Shea echoed when asked about the training camp debut of slotback Ryan Smith.
“Ryan Smith practices extremely hard. He practices like he plays the game. There is one speed with him and I believe that’s the way you have to play football. It’s good to have that example. I mean Weston Dressler does the same thing and we have a bunch of guys on both sides of the ball who really work practice the same way they play the games. And that’s not easy to do so I think we’ve got some, not only talented athletes in those guys, but extremely committed football players who really get it” said O’Shea.
It’s difficult to start singling players out after just one practice, but along with Smith and Dressler, among those who looked like they would certainly make the Bombers better this year were running back Andrew Harris, defensive tackle Euclid Cummings, and Justin Medlock to name a few.
No question there is a palpable air of expectancy and optimism that is different this year from the previous two under O’Shea’s guidance.