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QBs jostle for position as Bombers rookie camp opens

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The Canadian Press
5/29/2013 5:34:39 PM
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WINNIPEG -- Justin Goltz says his acting career in commercials is a nice little off-season perk but he's looking for a far more prominent role with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Goltz can be seen, briefly, in a Snickers TV commercial featuring comedian Robin Williams.

"Throughout the audition process I had lines, I thought I was going to be a big guy," he said with a chuckle Wednesday of a role that would make spotting him hard for his family.

But now he's auditioning for a much bigger part, looking to move from No. 4 on last season's depth chart to No. 2 behind starting quarterback Buck Pierce.

That's where he sat as rookie camp started Wednesday, but he knows he has to prove himself to stay there with newcomers Max Hall and Chase Clement waiting in the wings.

"I wouldn't expect anything else. I haven't been given anything in my tenure as a professional football player and I wouldn't expect to be handed the position."

Goltz, at six foot five and 210 pounds, has an easy athletic grace that has always impressed Bomber coaches. He's also the youngest of the three at 25 -- Hall has almost two years on him and Clement one -- and is a new dad as well.

He left a three-week-old son at home in San Diego to report to the Bombers and admits that was hard.

This will be his fourth season with the Bombers (although he joined very late in 2010) and he has so far thrown just seven completed passes.

He took a back seat to Alex Brink and Joey Elliott last season as Pierce went down with a series of injuries and missed 11 games. But Brink and Elliott didn't deliver what the Bombers wanted and both were cut in the off-season, leaving only Goltz.

"I look at it as more of a compliment than being the next man in line or last man standing," he says.

"I think when I have got an opportunity I've done some things that have maybe turned a few heads and given me an opportunity to stay here."

Those seven completed passes, plus eight carries and 43 yards rushing, still add up to a lot more CFL experience than Hall or Clement can claim.

Both have either NFL or United Football League credentials after college -- Hall played six games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010.

Clement also was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2009 but decided Canada wasn't for him and left after one practice.

The Bombers are making no bones about how important increasing depth at quarterback is for the team this season.

Burke says much of training camp will be focused on sorting out the pecking order of the three pivots.

Pierce says there's nothing much he can say to answer critics who worry about his durability, even though they praise what he does on the field when he's healthy.

"Talk to me after this year."

He stayed in Winnipeg in the off-season to train and has done what he can to prepare.

"Last year was humbling in a lot of ways. I think mentally I'm as sharp as ever, as hungry as ever, as excited as I've ever been."

He stopped short of saying he was ready to mentor Goltz and his other understudies, but he is going to work with them and other members of the team to get better.

"I'm going to help bring them along because I know it's a situation, for us to be successful, we have to have depth, not just at that position but every position."

He also suggests Bomber fans can expect to see some changes on offence, now that co-ordinator Gary Crowton has more CFL experience and Tim Burke is in his first full season as coach.

"It's going to look quite a bit different I think from . . . how we call things, from how we execute things, our mindset overall."

Justin Goltz (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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