WINNIPEG -- As if last week’s shakeup in Winnipeg wasn’t enough, the Blue Bombers continued to make headlines Monday, announcing a pair of major on-field moves.
After reports circulated late Sunday night, Bombers head coach Tim Burke confirmed that CFL rookie Max Hall will make his first career start in Week 8 against the Tiger-Cats.
The Bombers also announced that Marcel Bellefeuille will join the team’s offensive coaching staff in a consultant-style role.
“We made a couple of decisions. One was to bring Marcel Bellefeuille as an assistant coach on our staff. We had him in mind in the respect that he’s got 18 years of CFL experience, he’s coached almost every position on offence and he’s been a coordinator in the CFL,” Burke told BlueBombers.com.
“The second thing, obviously, is that Max Hall is our quarterback. One of the things we wanted to make sure is that we weren’t mandating to the offensive coaches who was going to play at quarterback. This was totally the decision of the offensive staff. (Gary Crowton) and the coaching staff on offence unanimously and passionately chose Max to be the quarterback,” he added.
Hall takes over under centre for the Bombers less than two weeks after Burke announced that Justin Goltz would be Winnipeg’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Goltz took over for the injured Buck Pierce in Week 5 and was officially handed the starting job the following week just ahead of Winnipeg's matchup with BC.
In the two games – both losses – Goltz completed 32 of his 63 passes for 306 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Suffice to say; those numbers weren’t enough to convince Burke, Crowtown and the rest of Winnipeg’s staff that he was their answer behind centre.
“I think Justin did some good things, he’s a very good wildcat quarterback. But this is the direction we’re going,” said Crowton.
“It’s a tough situation for Justin. I think Justin has a lot of good football in him, I think we put him in early and he tried to do some good things but we probably played him a little too early than he was ready,” he added.
Goltz, however, didn’t necessarily agree with his coach.
“I wasn’t really given an explanation. I know that everyone wants to win now and there’s a lot of pressure with a lot of peoples' jobs and I think everyone’s trying to search for a fast-fix and I don’t necessarily think one person is going to come in here and turn around our offence,” he said.
“There are a lot of things I just don’t understand and don’t know. I’ve been told they haven’t given up on me, but at the same time I’m not the one stepping out on the football field,” he added.
Hall, meanwhile, has yet to throw a pass in his very short CFL career.
The 27-year-old BYU product did see some time during the pre-season, completing nine of his 20 passes for 81 yards and a couple of interceptions.
Despite his inexperience, Hall is ready for the challenge of getting the Bombers back into the East Division playoff conversation.
“I think the coaching staff has showed trust in me and they believe I can go out there and get it done,” said Hall after practice on Monday.
“I don’t want there to be a doubt, I want to go out there and I want to win football games and if I do that, hopefully I’ll be here a long time.”
Officially, Winnipeg’s QB depth chart sees Hall as the starter with Buck Pierce as the backup.
Goltz will see time in the Bombers’ wildcat package.
With files from BlueBombers.com