WINNIPEG — Stefan LeFors may have the inside track in the battle for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ starting quarterback job — though he doesn’t see it that way.
The former Edmonton back-up pivot doesn’t consider himself a shoo-in for the starting job after coming over in a trade from the Eskimos in January. But he knows it can’t hurt that the 27-year-old has already worked with Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly, who served as the Eskimos’ receivers coach last season and is familiar with what LeFors can do.
“The advantage could be, well, we have a relationship unlike the other guys coming in,” LeFors said after Thursday’s rookie practice. “And I think maybe him trading for me shows what he thinks about me and I could see where people get that.
“But (Kelly’s) made it known (the competition) is wide open and that’s how I’m treating it.”
The Bombers have five QBs vying for the No. 1 job left vacant when Kevin Glenn was released in the off-season after more than four seasons as the club’s starter.
Ryan Dinwiddie and Bryan Randall are back from last year’s roster and James Kilian and Darrell Hackney were free-agent signings.
LeFors was a backup in Edmonton the past two seasons, biding his time behind veteran Ricky Ray. He got into one game last year and started five in 2007 when Ray was injured.
“I certainly believe in Stefan, but I haven’t anointed him, either,” Kelly said of the six-foot, 203-pound Louisville grad. “I had an opportunity to acquire him and now he needs to play the way I hope that he will play.
“But the best players will play. If it’s Stefan, great. If it’s not, I know I’ve got a guy that’s pretty darn good if he beat him out.”
The former Bombers offensive co-ordinator (1992-96) has loaded his plate for his first stint as a CFL head coach. He’s also the offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach.
He began his hands-on approach last Sunday when he held the first day of what he called a three-day QB school. The Bombers were reprimanded by the league for those meetings, which contravened rules about teams not having signed players at organized sessions before camps begin.
It was the second time Kelly got into trouble for the same rule. When the league found out he was planning to have his QBs at a Florida try-out camp during the off-season, the Bombers got a call reminding them of the rules and the QBs were no-shows.
Kelly wouldn’t comment on his latest faux pas, but he was pleased with how the school went.
“They’ve all been good students; lots of note taking, and that’s always a positive for me,” said Kelly. “Each one of them brings a little different skill set. Some have a little more swagger than the others.”