Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke has been asking for more intensity and he got it in spades Wednesday, as two more scraps erupted between his players at training camp.
It was the second straight day of fighting at Bombers practice, with the first tussle a minor scrap between a pair of rookie receivers.
The second, however, was a lot more dramatic. It was brief, but the clash between members of the offence and defence resulted from a scuffle between offensive lineman Steve Morley and defensive lineman Kenny Mainor.
Defensive back Jonathan Hefney and other members of the secondary jumped in and after that it all got very confusing, ending with a pile of players on the field.
Burke was not amused.
“I’m not a big fan of that,” he said. “You can’t do it in a game, so why do it in practice? If you allow it to happen in practice then there’s a chance it will happen in a game.”
Burke says he got a lot of “he said, she said” from players about the incident but would look at film to see if further discipline was warranted.
“If I saw somebody really take a cheap shot, then I’ll do something about it,” he said. “Unless you really see it on film you can’t really believe anybody.”
Right after the melee, the entire team had to do a series of “up-downs” for the entire length of the field.
Burke has been riding the secondary pretty hard, saying if they didn’t shape up some were going to get shipped out.
He wanted more intensity from his players and Hefney said he got it Wednesday.
“I felt like it shows intensity, your passion, how hard you want to play, how much you love your teammates,” he said.
In practice “your team” is the defence or the offence, he said.
Mainor said he didn’t expect a similar incident to happen again.
“We’d rather run around and play football than do up-downs so no, I don’t think we’ll have too much more of that,” he said.
Added Morley: “It was a good little dustup and tires guys out and ... makes you focus a little harder for the rest of the practice.”
He said they were told if it happens again there would be major repercussions, so there isn’t likely to be a recurrence.
Meanwhile, Burke says he was a lot happier with what he’s seen from the veterans in the secondary, both in the second practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I was really happy with it yesterday. It looked like a bunch of piranhas out there with a piece of meat,” he said. “That’s the kind of defence we want.
“We want guys flying to the football and you can’t, you won’t do it in a game if you haven’t developed the habit in practice.”