Bombers' O'Shea and Riders' Dickenson agree hit on Rempel should not have happened
Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Mike O’Shea was furious on Sunday after long snapper Chad Rempel took a wicked hit from Lavar Edwards of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was forced to leave the game in the second quarter.
O’Shea let his feelings be known to the officials and Riders coach Craig Dickenson at halftime and after the game.
“Any time you lose a guy, you don’t like it,” O’Shea said Wednesday. “I like our players and I like when they stay healthy. When a guy’s got to leave the game, I just wanted to voice my displeasure and see where that took us. But it didn’t take us anywhere, really.”
Rempel, who fell backward and hit his head on the turf after snapping the ball to punter Justin Medlock, did not practice Wednesday and is likely to miss Saturday’s rematch between the two teams at IG Field.
The Bombers signed Canadian long-snapper Maxime Latour on Wednesday and he is competing with linebacker Thomas Miles, who handled the duties for the remainder of Sunday’s game, to see who will be in the role Saturday.
While there was no penalty flag thrown after the hit on Rempel and it was technically within the CFL rules, O’Shea suggested it’s not an acceptable practice.
“Regardless of rule, my interpretation of the way we do things is you tend to leave the long snapper alone,” O’Shea said. “If the guy can cover, you block him to make sure he can’t get down field. That’s the way I interpret things.”
Riders coach Craig Dickenson clearly agrees and understood why O’Shea was trying to protect his players. Long snappers don’t grow on trees and they are difficult to replace.
“Looking at the film, we did rough up Rempel a little bit,” Dickenson said. “I’ll coach it better. So I understand why he’s upset, but there was certainly no malicious intent to injure Chad Rempel or run him over like that.
“There is a rule. You have to allow him to protect himself. I talked to the officials about it on the phone and they said that wasn’t a penalty, but we’ll do a better job of coaching it. I’ve spoken with Mike and he knows that wasn’t intentional. We hope Chad’s able to play.
“The point is, you don’t want to take guys out, and there aren’t a lot of long snappers in this league. We’ll try to correct how we coach it so it doesn’t happen again.”
Miles and Latour were both taking reps on Wednesday as the Bombers try to make things work for Medlock, a very meticulous kicker who has worked with Rempel for many years and with more than one team.
“I have some new guys and I just have to work with them and we’ll make it work,” Medlock said.
He said Miles did a good job filling in despite being thrown into a tough situation. Miles was a long snapper with the University of Manitoba Bisons and practises every day in case he’s thrown into a such a situation in games.
“He got it back there, the get-off times were good,” Medlock said. “Obviously it changes up the rhythm so that was a little tougher, but we made a field goal when we needed to make a field goal, we made an extra point when we needed to make an extra point. He did a great job, just playing catch. When you get to that point, you’re not looking for perfection.”
Nichols out for season? ‘That’s not the information we have,’ says O’Shea
There has been speculation for weeks now around the league that Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols will miss most of, if not all of, the rest of the season.
Nichols was hurt on Aug. 15 in a win over the B.C. Lions and was later placed on the six-game injured list with what is believed to be an injury to his throwing shoulder.
At the time, Bombers coach Mike O’Shea said Nichols would be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks and hoped he’d be able to return after about six weeks.
Some people around the league aren’t buying it, with many suggesting the injury will keep him out eight weeks or longer.
But reports this week that Nichols may be out for the season had O’Shea going on the offensive.
“That’s not the information we have,” O’Shea said. “I don’t know who’s been reporting it. What happens is somebody throws out a comment like that, they make something up and, sure enough, all these pseudo-reporters get to take it and run with it.
“Whatever … that’s not the information I have.”
Nichols has missed the last two games and his time on the six-game injured list would take him through the Bombers Oct. 5 game in Regina.
The Bombers have three remaining games after that, plus potential playoff games.