May 6, 2016

Blog: Mini Camp Primer


Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans will get their first look at the 2016 squad – the offence in particular – come mini camp next month in Winnipeg (April 25-27). This is different than what we have done in the past, as it will only be offensive players under contract on the field next month.

Although it will be the first time we have our offence all together, including free agent acquisitions Weston Dressler, Andrew Harris, and Ryan Smith, Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice explains in further detail exactly what fans can expect in late-April: “We will go through some basic concepts,” he told me today in his office. “Install some runs, and get the ball in the air to these guys.”

I asked him if he will be evaluating players on his side of the ball, and his answer is to be expected; “It’s hard to evaluate a guy running a corner route with no defender there,” he told me. “We are always evaluating, and Coach O’Shea will tell you he is always evaluating everything, but in terms of actual on-field aspects, it’s more to install some things, get guys running around, and get our players familiar with our offence.”

“You’re being evaluated from the moment you walk through the doors here. The day you become a Bomber.” – Mike O’Shea

His point about Coach O’Shea constantly evaluating his players is absolutely accurate. His exact words when first addressing the team in the theatre room the night before camp opened last season were clear and concise:  “You’re being evaluated from the moment you walk through the doors here. The day you become a Bomber. You’re evaluated on your professionalism, how you interact with the staff, and with your teammates. Are you respectful to the meal staff? To everyone. Respect around here is as important as anything else.”

So why are we only bringing in offensive players for the April mini camp? I’ll let the Head Coach explain: “It’s really being done to give the offensive players a jump-start on their new systems. The majority of offensive players are new this year, so it’ll be good for them to get acclimated to everything Coach LaPolice will be installing.”

The location for camp has not been firmly decided, but it’s possible we will host it at Investors Group Field, providing the weather is suitable. We’ll be sure to relay that information to you when it’s definitive.