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Author Topic: First & 10 | Catching up with Richie Hall  (Read 179 times)
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Blue Bombers and Fans

« on: October 28, 2020, 05:46:49 AM »

First & 10 | Catching up with Richie Hall - Ed Tait

We were connected by phone - Richie Hall at his offseason home base in Regina and yours truly here in the heart of Charleswood - and for a brief moment there was silence.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive coordinator and I were reliving some of the moments critical to the club?s run to the Grey Cup last year, all as part of our '10 Plays That Made A Champion' series that began this week on and will continue through to the end of November.

But as the two of us were visiting, the connection seemed to be suddenly lost. Waiting for a few seconds and then leaning closer to the phone, I broke the momentary silence with, 'You still there, Richie?'

"Yeah, I am," he said, just as the phone seemed to come to life again. "You know, I was just thinking about the journey we went through just to get to the Grey Cup last year.

"I look back at my whole experience with the organization. I came there in 2015 and we won five games. The next year we were 11-7 and lose a heartbreaker in B.C. The next year we lose a tough home playoff game to Edmonton. Then we go to Calgary for the 2018 West Final and that, to me, is a game we should have won but let slip through our hands."

"The last time we met as a defence, the day before the Grey Cup, I said to the players, 'With everything we?ve been through - and I know you get tired of hearing my voice and me saying, strip the ball and do this and this and this - was it worth it? Was it worth going in early to do an extra workout, to do extra film work? Was it worth it?'

"And when you look at the Grey Cup ring now, how can you not say it wasn?t worth it? The heartache, those collapses we had in Toronto and Montreal last year... as hard as it was then, it was worth going through that to get that trophy. It was worth it. I'm a process person, and I've enjoyed this journey. It's made it so worthwhile."

For the record, Coach Hall and I were on the phone for over 40 minutes, but the interview wasn't intended to generate this big-picture look at last November, but rather a detailed examination of some the moments that were the foundation of the championship, as explained above.

Still, with no Canadian Football League games being played right now, it seems many conversations tend to be a mix of both nostalgia and remorse.

"Chatting with you is bringing back all these memories," said Hall. "It's hard to believe it was almost a year ago. I was back in Winnipeg the first week of September for a couple of days and went to get something out of my office and it just felt eerie... especially knowing then it was September. I was in the Bomber Store and bought some stuff, but there was nobody in the stadium and it just didn?t feel right.

"That would have been around the Labour Day game and then the Banjo Bowl. There's a void, an empty feeling. And once November gets here, boy, that?s going to be a big hole for me."

He's certainly not alone in that sentiment.

More from Coach Hall and other Bomber/CFL notes in our weekly edition of 1st & 10......

And more of Richie Hall is right here!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 02:57:26 AM by ModAdmin » Logged

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one." - John Wooden
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Posts: 1518

« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 04:28:28 PM »

I have some times been down on Richie Halls coaching ability in the past but as a first class human being, Richie Hall is up there with the best.  He has shown if you give him the players his systems will work.  To bad that there are not more Richie Halls in this world.
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Posts: 4497

« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2020, 04:57:03 AM »

You bet.  I think Hall probably wins "most likeable" guy award among the top staff.  Who will ever forget the TV shots of Hall wandering around the field post-GC, crying and hugging.

I mentioned it at the time, 2 years back I think, but I was sitting at the table beside Hall and some dinner guests (not players or any CFL people I recognized, but obviously some sort of visiting VIPs) at Popeyes chicken one evening.  He was giving them the full spiel about his D philosophy ("unity").  He's great at selling his ideas and his ideas were sound, and I loved watching them get ingrained into WFC D football over the following months/years.  I listened to him at least 10-15 mins before he wrapped it up.

That was the day before a late season CGY@WPG game and I was really stoked for that game at the time.  It was one we won too, in large part due to Hall.

Never go full Rider!
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