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109th Grey Cup Daily: O'Shea, Dinwiddie set to face former teams

Mike O'Shea Winnipeg Blue Bombers Ryan Dinwiddie Toronto Argonauts Mike O'Shea and Ryan Dinwiddie - The Canadian Press

Keep updated on all of the news, notes and more this week ahead of Sunday’s 109th Grey Cup between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts with's Grey Cup Daily.

Wednesday was a busy day for members of the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with their respective head coaches fielding questions from the media ahead of the 109th Grey Cup.

Watch the 109th Grey Cup between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts Sunday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 ET/3:30 PT on the TSN Network,, and the TSN App.

With Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie having spent time in with the Bombers, and Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea having played for the Argonauts, the two find themselves uniquely qualified to speak on their experiences with the other organization.

And they were asked exactly that by reporters on Wednesday.

"Well, it's a lot of history," said O'Shea. The 52-year-old was a linebacker for the Double Blue for two different stretches. Firstly from 1996-97, when O'Shea and the Argonauts won back-to-back Grey Cups. The North Bay, Ont., native returned for a second stretch with the Argonauts from 2001-08 after spending the 2000 season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"It's really about the guys you played with because a lot of the organization has changed, from ownership to the people involved. There are still guys in there like Pinball (general manager Mike Clemmons) and Danny Webb (Argonauts equipment manager), that I have a huge history with. And you care about those guys and you'll never stop caring about those people because you share so many good memories with them and tough memories, too, sometimes. The whole organization has changed quite a bit. And I think you will always have a certain amount of loyalty and fondness towards the people you are with that are still there."

As for Dinwiddie, he served as the Bombers' backup quarterback for three seasons (2006-08). The Elk Grove, Calif., native was thrust into action during the 2007 Eastern Final following an injury to starter Kevin Glenn. Dinwiddie started for the Blue Bombers in the 95th Grey Cup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he threw for 225 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in the Bombers’ 23-19 loss.

"Very similar," responded Dinwiddie when asked for his comments.

"I spent some three years in Winnipeg. We got to the playoffs all three years, it was a fun three years; a lot of good friends that I met there and we still talk. I got a text from Kevin Glenn a few days ago, excited about it. He works with our third-string quarterback Ben Holmes, so we're in constant communication. Even outside of that we talk quite a bit. And then you look at Brad Fotty (Bombers equipment manager) and some of the folks that are still working in the front office and the ticket office and all that. I mean, a lot of good people I've met in Winnipeg. Outside the organization as well a lot of friends there so fond memories there. I just thought was unique...I always thought I'd be back at some stage [but it] didn't end up happening, but you never know down the line. I plan on doing this till I'm 70. I still have a lot of memories there and a lot of good friends."

While their playing days have shades of similarities, their coaching days do not.

O'Shea is in the hunt for his third consecutive Grey Cup title and the seventh of his career. Dinwiddie, on the other hand, is looking to win his second. His first came in 2018 when he was a member of the Calgary Stampeders coaching staff.

“Well, the team changes every year so it's up to the core group of guys that have been here before to help along the young guys," said O'Shea on whether his prior coaching experience in the Grey Cup will aid in Sunday's game.

"I think the answer is pretty easy and it's off-the-field stuff. It's managing your time and making sure you get back to your process. Making sure you carve out enough time to step back from the busyness of this week and get back into football, [and] get your focus straight. With the group of guys we have, I think it'll be done fairly well. And I think that's where it can really help."

"I think just from my experience, the one time I played the game, [it] was just all this stuff that was there. I ate room service the whole week, I couldn't even make the team meal," Dinwiddie said on his experience with Grey Cup week.

“I just make it important to the guys to understand that there's gonna be a lot of distractions. Don't let it distract us. Let's not lose sight of what the whole goal is: to win a game on Sunday. And that's what we're here for. We're here to entertain and we have obligations and all that stuff. But like Mike (O'Shea) was saying, curfew, different things. We're not here to go out, you know. Next week, your season's over with and you're, you're lucky to be playing in the last game. This is our last game. Win or lose it's our last game, which is as tough to think about sometimes. So I just think our guys are focused on that last week together."

Bombers QB Collaros (ankle) does not participate in first GC practice

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers held their first practice of Grey Cup week without their starting quarterback Zach Collaros, who suffered an ankle injury in last week's Western Final. 

The 34-year-old attempted to scramble late in the game when his ankle got caught under a BC Lions' defender.

The reigning CFL's Most Outstanding Player and 108th Grey Cup's Most Valuable Player attempted to return to the Bombers' offence for their next series, but could not play. A product of the University of Cincinnati, Collaros threw for a career-best 4,183 yards and 37 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

Second-string quarterback Dru Brown, who threw for five touchdowns and rushed for three, took first-team reps with Collaros sidelined.

Post-practice, the Bombers expressed their belief in Collaros and the other quarterbacks in their depth chart. 


ContentId(1.1879267): Bombers believe Collaros will play, but have full faith in all three QBs

I think if there's one thing about Zach, it's that he's an ultra-competitor and he's tough," said Brown. "I'm sure that if you ask Zach, it's an it-is-what-it-is kind of thing. But I haven't had much time to think about his feelings about it. But I know from what I've seen, and a leader of our room, he's going to take it head-on like he does everything else."

"I'm confident in Zach that he's going to do the right things to do to get back there, Bombers offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld said of Collaros.

If Brown, or third-string option Dakota Prukop, are forced to step under the bright lights of Mosaic Stadium, wide receiver Nic Demski knows they’ll be ready for it. 

"We're still confident in who we've got there," said Demski. "We do a lot of different stuff with just different quarterbacks no matter what. For us, it doesn't matter who's in there, we still just have to execute and do our jobs."

On the defensive side of the ball, prolific pass rusher Jackson Jeffcoat was limited Wednesday with a hip injury.

The 31-year-old former Texas Longhorn missed time in September with a hip injury. A product of the University of Texas, Jeffcoat is coming off his best season in 2021, where he recorded career highs in sacks (9) and forced fumbles (4) on top of racking up 26 tackles, earning him West Division and CFL All-Star honours and back-to-back Grey Cup titles.

Jeffcoat finished the regular season having seen action in 12 games, tallying 20 tackles and four sacks.

Argos All-Star LB McManis (bicep) does not participate in practice

The Toronto Argonauts announced via their Wednesday injury report that CFL All-Star Wynton McManis did not practice due to a bicep injury.

The 28-year-old Tennessee-born linebacker suffered the injury in last week’s East Division Final against the Montreal Alouettes. The first-year Argonaut was recently named a CFL All-Star for his career-best 88 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.