Allowing two FGs, shame on you! Buono berates defence between halves
Sunday, July 08, 2007
In the first half of Friday night's game, the B.C. Lions held Ricky Ray and the explosive Edmonton Eskimos offence to two measly field goals while forcing two turnovers and making a handful of big plays that kept the Leos in control of the contest.
It was, by most standards, a commendable performance. But it didn't make Wally Buono happy. More to the point, the Lions head coach was livid with the performance of his defence over the first 30 minutes. Why, they surrendered 205 passing yards to Ray. And 12 first downs. And over 18 minutes in time of possession.
Buono has a limited repertoire of profanity but his message to his defence was clear. That wasn't good enough, gentlemen. Not by a long shot. I want more.
And he got it.
"Wally was on us at half time," said Leos linebacker Javy Glatt after the 29-9 victory. "I'm not going to say what he said but he's a perfectionist and we didn't get [the Eskimos offence] off the field."
"For us it wasn't good enough," said Buono. "I care about the results. I don't care about the two field goals. I care about how they were moving the football and the guys responded."
Now if he could only do the same thing for the offence.
Granted, they're only two games into this CFL season and the football gods are quick to punish any signs of arrogance. But given where they ended last season, and given their first two outings of the 2007 campaign, it would seem the Lions have again assembled the best defence in the country and one that has the potential to earn a place in the history of the Canadian game.
I mean, we knew they were good coming into this season. But what they did to Ray and his colleagues in the second half of the game violated the obscenity laws in at least eight of the provinces.
They held the Esks to under 100 yards in total offence. Their longest play from scrimmage was 15 yards. Their only score, a Sean Fleming field goal, came after a Dave Dickenson interception and a roughing penalty to offensive lineman Rob Murphy.
Other than that, the Esks offence was the bug and the Lions defence was the windshield, and while questions remain about Dickenson and the offence, it's quite possible the Leos could repeat as Grey Cup champs on the strength of their defence.
"I'd give that a B," said cornerback Dante Marsh. "I guarantee you we can be a lot better. We played well enough to win but we want to get to the point where we dominate people."
It should be mentioned that Marsh and Korey Banks, his partner on the short side of the field, helped hold Jason Tucker and Trevor Gaylor, the Eskimos two most dangerous receivers, to four catches and 55 yards between them.
We're only glad Marsh wasn't marking our first-year history papers.
Now, as mentioned, there are issues with Dickenson and his group. But, if it's any consolation, sports fans in this province have just spent eight months watching Roberto Luongo so this great defence-no offence concept isn't exactly new in these parts.
The Lions defence has also returned virtually intact from last year's Grey Cup win and, if anything, looks to have jumped to another level.
There are all-pros all over the field. Glatt seems to improve with every game. Aaron Hunt is developing into a beast. Cameron Wake is an upgrade at rush end. Friday night they dressed seven import defensive backs, which gives them all manner of options in their cover schemes.
Three of those DBs recorded interceptions against Ray.
Then again, there were those two field goals in the first half.
"If you want to be the best, you've got to play like you're the best all the time," said Buono. "I want them to play hard. Is that too much to ask?"
Really, it's a wonder he can tolerate them at all.
© The Vancouver Province 2007
Well what do you expect?
205 yards passing. 12 first downs. 19 mins of posession.
With first half stats like that Edmonton could be dangerous, but thankfully Edmonton showed their true team colours by losing.
Leos defence in the first half reminded me a lot of the Argos, bend but don't break. We gave up a ton of yardage but allowed only two field goals. Thankfully in the second half our real D showed up and Ritchie once again reigned supreme.
Yeah, that definately sounds like TO's D
Wally playing mind games again.
Yes we got lucky that the Eskies didn’t capitilize on the yardage they gained. Good analogy RLR, bend but not break. The defense better bring their more “Restrictive” bend to Taylor field next week. The Riders offense really lit things up!
Lions D was dominant by the second half. We are a traditionally slow starting team and are 2-0. I think once we really get things going, hopefully this Friday in Regina.
Going to be a really tough game and a true test for both teams to see where they stand. Can't wait for it.