Excerpts from Friesen's practice report (I still can't believe Friesen actually went to a practice):
The Tim Burke era began with a crack of the whip as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers practised under their new head coach for the first time this morning.
A short (one-hour), but high-paced workout ended with several players forced to run “gassers,? or wind sprints, as a penance for taking penalties in last week’s loss to B.C.
“I haven’t ran gassers in a long time,? receiver Terrence Edwards said when it was over. “Coach Burke is trying to rectify that problem. And I can tell you this: it’s going to be a long time before I go offside again.
“I haven’t had a tempo like that since I’ve been in professional football.?
There was little down time, nobody reclining on the bench and plenty of competition between the starters on offence and defence.
And the enthusiasm was cranked up several notches, as the 2-6 Bombers began preparations for Sunday’s Labour Day Classic in Regina.
“I was really pleasantly surprised,? Burke said of the pace and enthusiasm. “They bought into the way we were going to practice right away.
“It’ll probably taper off somewhere in the future. But that’s where I start yelling.?
The day began with a team meeting in which GM Joe Mack explained why he fired Paul LaPolice on the weekend.
Mack also asked the players if he had their attention.
If he didn’t get it, Burke certainly did.
And Wazny from the Free Press:
The first practice under Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke came and went, and his stamp on the team is already evident.
The football club went through a brief, one-hour session at Canad Inn Stadium Tuesday, a workout that was designed to give the players a better idea what the new coach expects when the full practice cycle starts Wednesday morning.
Starting his first practice almost 20 minutes early Tuesday, Burke stayed true to his promise over the weekend that the on-field sessions would see an increase in intensity and speed; one-on-one competition between players – receiver versus defensive back, defensive line versus offensive line – were a big part of Tuesday’s session.
"I was really pleasantly surprised; they bought into the way we’re going to practise," said Burke, who was introduced to the team as the new head coach by GM Joe Mack. "We finished our practice six minutes early, which means we were practising fast. I’m really happy with it."
Under former head coach Paul LaPolice, the Bombers did practise fast during drills, but players also did a lot of standing around during different sessions. Whether that changes as the Burke era unfolds remains to be seen, but initial reviews from the players regarding the new practice habits were positive following Tuesday’s workout.
Part of the workout featured something we’ve never seen from the Bombers in the last two-plus seasons: gassers.
A gasser is four wind-sprints, back and forth, covering the width of the football field. A handful of players were asked to do them after practice Tuesday, as punishment for some of the needless penalties they took in the B.C. game. Receiver Terrence Edwards went offside trying to get a jump on one of his routes Friday night. He promised he wouldn’t go offside again.
"The players have to take responsibility for those 13 penalties that we had (in that game," the veteran Edwards said. "We have to be smarter than (that). It’s always been the emphasis. Today, it was a little more emphasized. We (went) out and ran some gassers, and I haven’t run gassers in a long time.
"Coach Burke is trying to rectify that problem. I can tell you this: It’s going to be a long time before I go offside again."
There have also been a number of positive tweets by players on how much they liked how practice went today.