The Canadian Football League today announced the West and East Division nominees for the 2023 Most Outstanding Player Awards and Coach of the Year finalists. The list features three members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers now up for four league honours.
The voting was conducted by members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and the league’s head coaches and returned the following results for the Blue Bombers as representatives of the West Division:
– Most Outstanding Player: running back Brady Oliveira
– Most Outstanding Canadian: running back Brady Oliveira
– Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick
– Coach of the Year: Mike O’Shea
Most Outstanding Player/Most Outstanding Canadian Player
Brady Oliveira wrapped up a historic regular season in the Blue Bombers’ win over Calgary last week and is now a double nominee for the league awards.
The Winnipeg product led the CFL in rushing with 1,534 yards and 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving), averaging 85.2 yards per game and posting seven 100-yard contests. He added another 482 receiving yards on 38 receptions, also all career highs. His 2,016 yards from scrimmage (rushing and passing) also led the CFL.
A second-round pick by the Blue Bombers in the 2019 CFL Draft, Oliveira’s rushing total is the second most by a Canadian in league history, behind only the 1,813 Jon Cornish amassed in 2013 as a member of the Stampeders. It is also the sixth highest total in Blue Bombers history.
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman
Jermarcus Hardrick extends the Blue Bombers’ string of having an offensive lineman represent the West in this category to six years, with Stanley Bryant having been the division’s top lineman the previous five seasons, winning league-wide honours four times.
Winnipeg’s attack led the league in points (33.0), net offence (414.7 yards per game), ranks first in rushing yards (139.1 per game), time of possession (32 minutes and 50 seconds) and has the league’s leading rusher in Oliveira and the top-rated passer in quarterback Zach Collaros. Winnipeg’s 33 sacks allowed is tied for second in the CFL with Calgary, with Toronto first at 19.
Coach of the Year finalist
A winner of this award in both 2021 and 2022, Mike O’Shea helped guide the Blue Bombers to 14 wins this season – tied for second-most in franchise history – and a first-place finish in the West Division for a third straight year.
He now has a 96-62 record as the Blue Bombers head coach since joining the club in 2014, with the 96 victories second-most in franchise history to Bud Grant (102).
The Blue Bombers have consistently been one of the least-penalized teams in the CFL under O’Shea’s watch – they were again in 2023 – and are chasing a fourth consecutive Grey Cup appearance and third championship after winning in 2019 and 2021 before falling to Toronto last year.
The Most Outstanding Player and Coach of the Year awards will be announced on November 16thduring Grey Cup week in Hamilton.