Saturday, August 25, 2012

Say It Ain't So Joe. Lapolice Let Go

I was just sitting down to write my game recap after mulling over the Blue and Gold's gritty performance last night that ended in a gut wrenching last second loss. All that changed as I heard that Joe Mack sent Coach Lapo packing and replaced him with Tim Burke. I thought this might have been an April fool's joke because only a fool would fire the head coach that took the team to last year's Grey Cup, less than half way through a season who amongst other things:

1. just signed a 3 year extension
2. was not responsible for the offensive play calling because a US college coach was handed those duties
3. had to work with the youngest team in the league playing their first 4 games on the road including the season opener against the defending Grey Cup champions, because of construction delays to the new stadium
4. had just lost team leader, Doug Brown to retirement amongst several other CANADIAN starters who have been replaced by rookies
5. had to coach a team led by a glass quarterback who if healthy is a huge asset

Yes only a fool would fail to take those things into account and then fire that coach, less than 2 hours ago by Joe Mack in what can only be construed as an effort to save his job. Lapo should thank him, because this team is a mess.

To be fair Lapo was not the perfect coach and had much to learn about game management and apparently motivating players, which is one of the excuses being used for his termination. It was frustrating to watch this team at times and he did look a little lost but football is all about controlled confusion. There are so many moving parts and so little time to get them into place. Maybe it was too much too soon for him and it didn't help that the bombers went 1-7 to finish last season.

However, what this boils down to (and this is pure speculation) to is that it must have been the board's opinion that Mack and Lapo could not work together any longer and Lapo got the short end of the stick. He was obviously thrown under the bus by Mack. We may never know the real reason as it is easier to get access to top secret government information than it is to get the truth out of this football club and Lapo is a class act who won't speak ill of his former employers.

So Tim Burke takes over a team that seemed to be gelling and gave the Lions all they could handle, except the defence that he was responsible for last night was unable to stop the Lions when they had too. There are more questions than answers right now. This season seems to be a lost season with no hope for a turn around, as I would think the players spirit is broken but I am not in the locker room and maybe just maybe this is the wake up call they needed.

So how long a leash will Burke get? Is this a try out? Is it a stop gap measure? Does mack have a replacement in mind no matter how Big Blue finish this season or is this Mack's last stand and will he also be sent packing for going into rebuilding mode less than a year removed from a Grey Cup appearance?

Questions like these only arise when one follows pro sports. These are frustrating but exciting times if you are a Bomber fan but unfortunately real people and careers are affected during turbulent times like these with story lines that even a Hollywood writer couldn't dream up.

I wish Lapo all the best. He was a class act and should land on his feet, hopefully in a better place or at least a place that respects him and his talents. As for the team, they will move on and play their next game and win or loose spout out the same cliches as if they were coached by Lapo. Change is inevitable. I just think they should have waited until the end of the season,  given the hand lapo was dealt!

Article by Sportmentary's Winnipeg correspondent, The Comish.

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