May 3, 2016

Anatomy of a Halftime

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea before the Banjo Bowl game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, MB. Saturday, September 12, 2015. (PHOTO: JOHANY JUTRAS)

Someone recently asked for some insight into what goes into a team’s halftime break inside the locker room. I hadn’t thought much of it until it was brought up, and I always like blog topic suggestions, so I’ll try to summarize for you what happens when the clock runs down to 0:00 and we all head into the locker room.

While one or two players will have on-field interviews with CJOB and TSN, the rest of the team files into the locker room. The players that remain on the field aren’t far behind their teammates, as the interviews are usually short; two or three questions each. While the players are chosen part way through the second quarter, I won’t make them aware of this until only a minute or two remain in the quarter. I will approach him and quickly tell him he’s needed to stay behind, but I don’t want him thinking about the interview prior to the very end of the quarter.

Once those interviews are done, and by the time the last of us get into the locker room, there’s usually about 14:00 minutes left on the clock before we have to be back out for the third quarter. When we get through the tunnel and up the ramp, TSN is waiting outside of the room. The TV agreement states they are granted four minutes (from the 14:00- 10:00 mark of halftime) inside the locker room with their camera to shoot video, but no sound. I’m sure you’ve seen this on TV, and the camera crew in Winnipeg is great. They are in and out in a matter of a minute or so, getting a few quick shots of the players sitting at their lockers.

Once they leave the room, I’ll usually go meet with Coach O’Shea and by this time, I’ll have a copy of the halftime stats in hand. I’ll briefly run through any notes I made throughout the first two quarters and stats that seem significant, in case he wants to bring any of this up with the team. While we’re meeting, the position coaches gather in one of the closest meeting rooms to the locker room, where, for example, Coach LaPolice will go over what he thought worked or didn’t work, and what they want to call in the second half.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Nick Moore (17) before the game at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, MB. Saturday, September 12, 2015. (PHOTO: JOHANY JUTRAS)


This all happens quickly, but while the coaches meet, this is usually a player’s opportunity to address the team if he feels he needs to. Chris Randle and Jamaal Westerman are often the players that will stand up and address their teammates. Then the coaches will return to the locker room, Coach LaPolice with the offence, Coach Hall the defense on the other side of the room, and they will run through what was discussed in the meeting room.

Keep in mind that Drew is on the phone with the offensive coordinator after almost every series, so they are already on the same page in terms of what they are seeing and the changes etc. that need to be made.

While all of this is taking place, players who need further evaluation from Head Athletic Therapist, Al Couture, and our doctors will be in our training room either getting X-rays or testing their injury to see if they can return for the second half. On the other side of the room, Head Equipment Manager Brad Fotty and his staff make quick alterations to jerseys, or adjust headsets that may have gone out during the first half.

As the clock hits the 5:00 mark, one of the officials will enter the room and give the team the ‘five minute warning’. At this point, Coach O’Shea will enter and go through his thoughts on the first half. These are usually general things – playing more disciplined and what he liked on each side of the ball. This is also where he will remind players, like he did in Regina last year, to “watch the football on the snap, don’t try to hear a damn thing,” referring to the noise level and not being able to hear the quarterback on the snap of the football. After he speaks for a minute or so, the team will make its way back to the tunnel and onto the field for the second half.

I also want to briefly touch on our offensive mini camp, which is right around the corner. Right now, it appears we will be holding this at Investors Group Field, with Monday’s practice (April 25th) scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Tuesday’s at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday’s at 10:00 a.m. These may change, but that’s the schedule the Head Coach has given us as of right now. Keep an eye on for the final version, which will be announced a week before camp.


Feel free to send me blog ideas on twitter: @Darren_Cameron.


Talk with you soon.