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Bombers head coach O'Shea offers funny answer to annual Grey Cup question

CALGARY — It's a staple of Grey Cup week — the two head coaches being asked whether they'll allow their players to have sex leading up to the big game.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer's response was very matter of fact on Wednesday.

"I say do what got you here," he said. "That's what I would say . . . that what they do is what they do."

But Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea drew laughter and applause for his unique answer.

"Well, it's been eight years since we've climbed into this position and another 29 since we finished the job," he said of Winnipeg's Grey Cup drought. "So there's going to be some nerves and the expectations are very high and the anticipation can sometimes ruin the event.

"So I guess my guidance to the players would be, you know, don't exhaust yourself in the warmup."

Steinauer, for one, liked O'Shea's take.

"That was good," he said.

Winnipeg hasn't won the Grey Cup since 1990 while Hamilton's last championship win came in 1999.


QB CAROUSEL: Both Winnipeg and Hamilton are in the Grey Cup despite losing starting quarterbacks Matt Nichols and Jeremiah Masoli, respectively, to season-ending injuries.

Zach Collaros will make a third straight start for the Bombers while Dane Evans will be under centre for the 13th time for Hamilton.

O'Shea said consistent success with a backup quarterback is a testament to a team's staff.

"You hire great people that are competent and tireless workers," he said. "And then you bring people in the building that are of great character and share similar views on work ethic and what it's going to take.

"So I've been blessed with both."

Steinauer agreed.

"I think our staff's done an outstanding job," he said. "You always want to use the next-man-up mentality however the quarterback position, I think, is at a different level.

"I ran the scout team last year and got to work with Dane closely. I got to watch him as a man, listen to him in the huddle lead, watch his unwavering support of Jeremiah and just his preparation and willingness to do whatever it took to be the best he could be. And I think that's what we're seeing currently."


GREY CUP CURFEWS: Both Grey Cup coaches have curfews this week for their players.

"Our focus will remain the same, we're set in a routine," said Steinauer. "We're going to go out and handle our business and know there's going to be adversity.

"I'm talking about from copy machines not working to this and that. Those are all just excuses, and we won't use any of those. So that's the message to the football team."

O'Shea said if his team wins the Grey Cup, his players will have plenty of time to celebrate afterward.

"As (late CFL head coach) Don Matthews would say, you've got the rest of your lives to party as champions," he said.


MISTAKE-FREE: The Tiger-Cats and Blue Bombers are not in the habit of hurting themselves.

The Grey Cup finalists were a combined plus-15 in turnover ratio during the regular season. And through two playoffs games, Winnipeg is plus-seven and hasn't turned the ball over.

Hamilton was plus-two in its East Division final victory Sunday over the Edmonton Eskimos.

Winnipeg has scored 55 points in the playoffs, with 16 coming directly off takeaways (29 per cent). Hamilton scored 10 of its 36 points against Edmonton off turnovers.

Hamilton swept the season series with Winnipeg 2-0, the first meeting coming with Masoli and Nichols under centre. In the second contest, Evans started for the Ticats while Chris Streveler took the snaps for the Bombers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2019.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press