Dollimore says Red Bombers ‘just want to win’

Published Saturday September 26th, 2009 by Chris Fox of the Daily Gleaner

It’s a new team, playing in a new league and on a new field, but when the UNB Red Bombers take the Chapman Field turf tonight against the UNBSJ Seawolves, one thing will be the same.

Head coach Mike Dollimore, who coached UNB’s varsity football team for 11 years up until their disbandment in 1980, will once again be calling the plays from the Red Bombers sideline.

“I have been trying to bring this team back for almost 30 years, so it will be pretty exciting to be able to see them actually on the field,” Dollimore said on the eve of tonight’s 7 p.m. contest. “UNB has been starving, the community has been starving, and hopefully we get a good crowd out.”

The Red Bombers will play a six-game season in the newly minted Atlantic Football League, a three-team circuit that also includes an entry from the University of New Brunswick Saint John and a club team from Moncton.

Brendan Cornford, the former Leo Hayes Lions quarterback who played senior football for the Capital Area DQ Gladiators this summer, is expected to be the go-to guy behind centre, and Andrew Hubbard, a star wide receiver out of Fredericton High School, will undoubtedly get plenty of balls thrown his way.

Past that, Dollimore is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We haven’t had an awful lot of chances to do too much scrimmaging, so it’s hard to predict what they are going to be like in game circumstances, but I like the team,” he said. “(Andrew) Hubbard is a big threat, Josh McArthur is a good solid running back and defensively we have a solid core of linebackers who are moving and flowing to the ball quite well and we have some good quick defensive ends.”

Though the Red Bombers are associated with the University of New Brunswick, the Atlantic Football League is not a university league and Dollimore said the Red Bombers’ final roster includes several players from St. Thomas University and a few not currently attending classes at either of the city’s two universities.

Several players with prior university football experience, including defensive back Elliot Hicks, who was the rookie of the year with the Mount Alison Mounties last year, will also suit up.

“We have several people who have played some CIS ball and because of the short amount of practice we have had that is a real asset,” Dollimore said.

In addition to Dollimore, former Oromocto High School coach Mike DeMello will coordinate the offence and three former Canadian university players, Jamie Edwards, Jeff Taylor and Dave Knott, will serve as assistants.

Larry Wisniewski, general manager of the Red Bombers, said that coaching staff will in fact be the biggest strength of the 2009 UNB Red Bombers.

“One of the real strengths is the coaching staff. It is first rate. Mike Dollimore, Mike DeMello, all of these guys have played CIS football, all these guys know CIS football, all of these guys have coached at all kinds of levels and they are a very very good coaching staff who the kids will gain a great deal from,” he said.

Dollimore said he just wants to win and is planning to have a football team that represents that attitude.

The top team in the Atlantic Football League at the end of the regular season will get a bye to a championship game. The other two teams will fight it out in a winner-take-all semifinal.

“Hopefully we will have everything we need to win a ball game in our kit bag,” Dollimore said.

“We’re just going to go out and take what they give us, spread the field both ways to open up our long game and if we can connect with that great and if they take that away from us we will have another threat to come back,” he said. “We don’t want to be one-dimensional.”