'All the pieces to the puzzle are here': Bombers count down to pre-season

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'All the pieces to the puzzle are here': Bombers count down to pre-season

'All the pieces to the puzzle are here': Bombers count down to pre-season

It's Day 7 of training camp and new Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Chandler Fenner seems ready to do cartwheels on the field.

"All three phases of the game are just through the roof right now," Fenner said excitedly after practice Saturday. "It's going to be a good season for us, with all of these pieces and the coaches we have. I have very high expectations."

The former B.C. Lion was signed by the Bombers during the off-season to help shore up the team's defence.

"I'm just happy, man, I can't even explain it any other way," he said when asked about joining the Bombers, adding his teammates and staff have helped smooth the transition.

"All the pieces to the puzzle are here to make a great run."

It's that kind of enthusiasm and team effort that head coach Mike O'Shea is happy to see on the field as the Blue and Gold come up to their first pre-season game Friday.

"I think it's vital.… We certainly expect that the guys are helping each other out," O'Shea said.

"When you sign up on a team and your objective is to win, it doesn't change if you're not playing — you still have the same objective. So if that's the truth, then you need to do everything you can to prepare the guy who's coming up behind you."

The Bombers threw in some fake, loud crowd noise during Saturday's practice, which O'Shea admitted threw players off. But he said it's something the team will have to deal with.

"We need to work on this at some point.… We do have the loudest fans."

The Bombers finished the 2017 season with a strong 12-6 record and a home playoff spot — the first they've clinched since 2011. They ultimately lost to the Edmonton Eskimos 39-32 in the Western Division semifinal.

O'Shea had a message for fans.

"I think they should get their butts down here and watch and they will be excited," he said.

"We've got a group of guys that … understand what it means to the city, and they are doing things for the right reasons and they're extremely talented. We look to start off right."

The Bombers' first pre-season game, against the Edmonton Eskimos, is Friday, June 1 at Investors Group Field. Game time is 7:30 p.m.