Lack of Experience

Just wondering, with the obvious struggles the Al's have and will be displaying, are you guys concerned about the lack of experience in your coaching staff? The HC Hawkins has zero CFL experience, Berry is a vagabond (what really is his position anyway?), the OC (Miller) also has no CFL experience, and the DC is a rookie who has only coached special teams before. Just curious.

Well, Marc Trestman had just about the same CFL experience also - zero.

There will no doubt be growing pains, but there is help among the coaching staff where the CFL game is concerned. I’m sure the new HC and all of the coaching staff are pouring through tons of video in preparation for the upcoming season, and then of course there are our veteran players who have been down this road before under a number of HCs.

The only real issue to me is how well our players execute, no matter who the HC is. It is, after all, the players who win or lose.

Go Als go!

BTW - congrats on the new Winnipeg stadium - It looks great! I hope we celebrate with an Als’ W! Ha! ha!

With any new coaching staff there is concern for their quality. But there are CFL experienced coaches here in Berry, Thorpe, and Nelson.

And Berry isn`t any more of a "vagabond" than Burke is - Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg.

I don`t anticipate "the obvious struggles the Als have and will be displaying", and just as Trestman brought significant innovation to the CFL, I expect to see the same from Hawkins/Miller.

And we still have a GM who knows how to build a CFL winning team, as opposed to certain other CFL GMs who are only glorified recruiters. :smiley:

Ah....a test of cross border politeness reciprocity.

I mentioned in another thread here that I have some concerns around these points. Mainly that there is very little recorded success of a college coach with no pro experience coaching professionals. And that the staff seemingly was assembled by someone other than the head coach. But we'll have to wait and see.

That said I do feel Popp did a great rebuilding job that can be tweaked if necessary. At least the Als have initially overcome their off field adversity. The proof will come with how they react when on-field adversity occurs.

From another standpoint I like the addition of Porter who could thrive with his physical skill set if called upon.

I see a downturn of the organization's success however.

There's always going to be uncertainty when you have such a massive turnover in the coaching staff. Having said that, as others have noted, Trestman had zero CFL experience when he took over in 2008, and things worked out pretty well for him.

The main thing for me is: what kind of core are you building on? And IMO our core is pretty good.

On offense, we have the same starting QB and O-line. We've bolstered our stable of running backs, replaced Bratton with Bruce (an upgrade), and re-signed all our star receivers. Berry will be there to advise both Hawkins and Miller on the nuances of the CFL game. Hawkins himself spent time as a guest coach for the Als last season at Trestman's request, so there is a small bit of continuity there. Calvillo is healthy and is well accustomed to working with different offenses / coordinators -- even during the Trestman era, he had two different OCs (Milanovich and Brady), to say nothing of the pre-Trestman era (OCs included Bellefeuille, Kevin Strasser, Doug Berry, and Jim Barker in recent memory).

On defense, things are less certain, because Thorpe is certainly a rookie CFL DC. That said, he has five years of experience as both ST coordinator and DB coach (Als 2002-2007), and has prior experience as a DC in the CIS ranks. He'll be able to lean on Mark Nelson, the linebackers coach, for guidance -- Nelson is a former DC with a good track record wherever he's been. We've bolstered the secondary, which was a weakness last year, and are going back to a more traditional 4-3 alignment after Reinebold's disastrous 3-4 tenure in 2012. So really, if the defense can be solid rather than awful, it's a big improvement. With our offense, they shouldn't have to win games on their own very often -- they just need to hold the line and not be exploited game after game, as Reinebold's D was.

On special teams, I expect improvement simply virtue of the fact that our new coordinator is not Andy F. Bischoff, who spent three years running that unit into the ground. The goal on special teams should be competence first and foremost, with any improvement above "competent" being gravy and not required.

Are there concerns? Of course there are. But considering that we managed to finish first in the division last year with only one functioning unit, were within a dropped Bratton pass of going to the Grey Cup, and gave Toronto its biggest challenge of the playoffs, I think we have reason to be optimistic about the season to come. That doesn't mean I think we'll steamroll the division and go 15-3. The days of any team doing that are over IMO. But I do expect us to be challenging for first place, even if we don't end up winning the division, and in the first year of a new head coach, that's a pretty good goal to achieve.

small correction...from my info Trestman turned down Hawkins offer to guest coach....no?
And trestman had tons of pro experience, hawkins has none....just cant think of many college guys becoming successful head pro head coaches on first go around.

I thought that Trestman turned down Hawkins's offer to join his coaching staff on a volunteer basis. Maybe a third party can help us out here?

And trestman had tons of pro experience, hawkins has none
Absolutely, and I'm not disputing that. That said, Trestman had zero HC experience prior to Montreal, while Hawkins has quite a bit, albeit in the U.S. college system.

Something that makes me optimistic is that with the depth and experience of our assistant coaches, Hawkins is more likely to be a manager than a micro-manager (as Trestman was), at least at the beginning as he's learning the Canadian game at ground level.

Can you think of a college head coach, with no pro coaching experience, making a successful jump to a pro head coaching job? I can't off the top of my head. Maybe Jim Harbaugh in San Fran from Stanford.

First time for everything, though. When was the last time an NFL team hired a head coach from the CFL? :wink:

Look, I'm not saying we don't have reason to be concerned. This is a risk, and a leap of faith. But Hawkins isn't inheriting a team in shambles, with no on-field talent or major roster holes. We've got a very talented roster up and down the lineup, as well as a future Hall of Fame QB and arguably the strongest receiving corps in the league to go with an elite all-Canadian O-line. Berry will likely be the "QC guy" in terms of making sure the playbook is CFL-ready, Miller is a veteran OC, and Speckman could offer some valuable contributions on how to incorporate the Fly offense into our attack. With our current stable of running backs -- Jennings, Rhodes, Messam, Anderson, Devine, and possibly Whitaker if/when he's healthy -- we've got a lot of weapons to be creative on the ground.

In short, while I can certainly see why you'd be pessimistic about our chances this season, I also feel that there is just as much reason to be optimistic. And I'm going with the latter for now.

Bud Grant: '60's-successful
Marv Levy: 80's successful
Hugh Campbell : 80's-not successful

I'm not pessimistic. Just have these concerns....interest is interest.....doesn't need a value.

No doubt. But I responded because it sounded to me as if you don't have much faith in our chances this season. Which is perfectly fine, and your right as a fan.

Should be an exciting season, regardless of what happens. Year one of the post-Trestman era -- can't wait to see what's ahead.

Perhaps an oversimplification, but a coach`s mandate can be broken down into 2 areas:

  1. Strategy
  2. Handling of his team

With Miller, Berry, and Calvillo having imput into the offense, I am actually looking forward to a more imaginative offense than Trestman`s. His was innovative for the first few seasons, but had grown predictable. This quote from Jamal Richardson a few weeks ago:

“Change is good. Our offence got kind of predictable at times,? Richardson said. “Bring someone in with a new mindset, it can be all great. We definitely have the weapons on offence. I’m going to be excited to see them put it together.?

On defense Thorpe can only be an improvement on Reinebold. And we have a dedicated special teams coach with NFL experience.

As for his handling of the team, Hawkins has to be a straight shooter and be honest with his team. Hes a far more outgoing type than Trestman, but thats his nature.

We really will only know how he handles this part of the equation when the team goes through some adversity, dare I say a blowout or a couple of losses in a row.

I salute everyone for the classy way you've all responded to LetsGoBlue's original post. Some might have taken it as an attempt at trolling, but no one has responded in that fashion, which is how many (not all) Bomber fans react when Als' fans post thoughts in their forum; I suspect that LetsGoBlue was hoping for that sort of response to justify the way they react.

Congrats to all.

Completely unnecessary, underhanded and even mean spirited post Madjack. The group responded only in an acceptable way.

disagree slant, I was complimenting everyone for responding in such a classy manner, nothing mean-spirited in that, surely.

I think he was referring to this;

Which is admittedly a very antagonistic assumption.

Well, go to the Winnipeg forum, look at the thread "brink released", last page, check out the O.P.'s posts there, and draw your own conclusion. I think the inference is well taken. If you disagree, all is well and good.

Of course LetsGoBlue is trolling. That's pretty obvious. But it doesn't mean we have to take his bait. :wink:

I don't visit other team forums, so I didn't know of other happenings; just said it how I saw it. :stuck_out_tongue:

On another note, what do you guys think our defensive backfield is going to look like this season? Hard to tell before training camp, of course, but we've got quite a few players that could potentially fill some starter spots. Probably the only player we can say with certainly will be starting in the backfield is Billy Parker.

We've got Geoff Tisdale, Byron Parker, Seth Williams, and Jerald Brown who might all play themselves into a starter role. Kyries Hebert had a solid season, but I wouldn't even consider him as a set-in-stone starter, since I think the consensus on here is that he's a better linebacker than he is a safety. Marco Brouillette is also a definite possibility, and Daryl Townsend was a monster on special teams; could he reflect that on the defensive side of the ball, too?

And where does Osaisai fit in? :lol:

Agreed, and that was the very point of my post, to congratulate everyone for not taking the bait. Thanks for recognizing it correctly.