Stamps coach trashing the talk

Stamps coach trashing the talk Higgins wants an end to all the name calling

Mike Beamish
Vancouver Sun

Friday, September 28, 2007

The slaggin' wagon has been making regular stops at the doorstep of the B.C. Lions, but there'll be no trash deposits today when the Calgary Stampeders arrive for Saturday's game at BC Place.

Tom Higgins, the Stampeders head coach and VP of football operations, has grown tired of the harangues, putdowns, name calling and unprofessionalism that permeate the eight-team house league.

No one is exempt -- executives, coaches, players, media -- and, Higgins says, enough is enough.

"We're a family, and family matters should be kept in the confines of the family," Higgins said Thursday. "If I was upset with Wally [Buono] I'd call him up and talk it out, man to man. I'm not going out to belittle anybody else. I hope nobody would do that to me. Our family and our organization would like it to stop."
Higgins will concede the Stampeders were one of last season's major offenders by allowing motormouths such as Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland to run on and on. Among other silly and pointless observations, they labelled Geroy Simon's touchdown pose as "gay."

It's different this year. A monolithic graphic "One," with the skyline of Calgary superimposed in the foreground, graces the cover of this year's Stampeders media guide and represents the team's philosophy. One city, one team, one voice. No incorrigibly opinionated personalities getting up on their respective pulpits -- at least that's the hope.

"It's not who Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland are this year," Higgins maintains. "They've bought into the philosophy of the organization, and they're better people for it. They're better teammates for it."

The Stampeders were fined $10,000 earlier this week for public criticism of the officials in last Friday's game in Hamilton.

Calgary quarterback Henry Burris was drilled by linebacker Zeke Moreno while out of bounds on the play. Burris not only got his shoulder wrecked, but there was no roughing or unsportsmanlike call. Had there been, the Stampeders would have lined up on first down, from the Hamilton two-yard line, with 45 seconds left. Calgary eventually lost the game 24-20.

Higgins defends Calgary's public rebuke because it adhered to the team's philosophy: It was one voice, president Ted Hellard, reading from a prepared statement, and the club was well aware on the consequences and the likely fine.

"It was read and that was the end of it," Higgins says. "The commissioner did exactly what he had to do and we moved on."

In light of the continual tongue-lashings against Lions offensive linemen Rob Murphy and Jason Jimenez over supposedly dastardly deeds, Higgins is keeping the finger on his players' mute button. He says his team has no issue with Murphimenez, except the puzzling issue of how to neutralize them.

"No, they're not dirty," Higgins says. "They're just very good football players. They're coached to be tough and aggressive, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with the two of them."

Higgins' words are not a revelation -- Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry said much the same thing after two of his players joined the "dirtiest players in the CFL" chorus -- but they are refreshing. And welcomed by Lions president Bob Ackles.

"Rob Murphy's allowed two sacks in two years. That's unheard of, in any league," Ackles says. "There seems to be a thing out there that if you can't beat 'im, you'd better say something bad about him. It's unfortunate, because the accusations tarnish a very good football team. I don't want to say anything more about that guy from Saskatchewan [GM Eric Tillman] because I don't want to get fined. I still have to put my grandkids through college."

Among others who recognize Murphy's prowess are Roughriders Fred Perry, Marcus Adams and, surprisingly, John Chick, the very player Murphy pinned by the throat in a brawl last Saturday in Regina.

What upsets Murphy, though, is that the private view is not reflected in the public stance.

"Eric Tillman's come up to me twice this year," Murphy says. "His exact words to me were: 'F--- what everybody else is saying in the media. I love the way you play. Don't stop. Keep playing that way.' That's his exact words. He says I'm the best O-lineman in the league. At the same time, he turns around and says I'm dirty."

Tillman, $1,000 lighter in the pocketbook, has paid for his candour.

Higgins suggests that the true cost of the league's dirty laundry, continually flapping in the breeze, is much greater.

Very refreshing stance from coach Higgins here. I must say that I truly respect him as a coach in the CFL.

Coach Higgins makes alot of sense I must admit. Even the fining of his own team doesn't sound as bad when he says it was an agreed statement from the whole team, rather than some player or the coach or the GM running his mouth off in the media to attract attention. He's right. The stupidity on-field and off needs to stop. Sure its cheaply entertaining IN THE MOMENT if a brawl starts after a play on the field, or some coach starts firing off on another or the league, but its poor show for the sport. Its as bad as all the glitz and glamour thats killing the NFL as an entertaining on-field product.

I like what the TSN panel has had to say - you got a problem with a fellow GM or coach or player or the league, you take it directly to their door, not the third party press contingent. When this isn't done, the League should step in, and i'm very impressed that Commish Cohon has done his best to issue punishments when basic competitiveness and decency isn't being respected on and off the field. CFL is all about playing the hardest, fastest, best football in the world, not beating the other guy's heads in cheaply or in dirty fashion, figuratively or otherwise....

Good for bringing up that article RLR , I already read it and noticed Higgins arrow at Pissant too.
Good on him to show class unlike Poop and Pissant.
Doug Berry also earned my respect with his earlier comments too.

Well that artical makes me proud of Higgens, the ownership and the team. Unlike some other teams management these guys did it right. Now the focus can be on football. :lol:

You forgot about WHINING WALLY!

Nice trolling there Ro I am proud of you. Wally is a good coach he knows how to use adversity to get his players to perform. Now Jim Popp should just find a head coach. :lol:

A little emotion from Higgins every now and then wouldn't hurt. But why rile up the Lions, good ploy by Higgins.

I do not think Ned Flanders (Higgens) has it in him to complain. I like the fact the ownership,coaches and team were together on this.

It's nice to see Higgins acknowledge how good the Lions really are. He has no reason to complain about them. I wish Calgary all the best for thr rest of the season, and we'll see you at BC Place in the Western Final.

Well RLR there is no question your team is good I have no idea why anyone would question that. I believe you have assumed the job of making sure people do not forget. Yes Ido hope our two teams meet in the western final.

What is it they were saying on the CBC pre-game show Wally B and Tom H. have gotten into a pissing match now, after making kissing and making up in such a nice way just the day before.

They said Tom was upset about wally showing the hit on Burris to the media. Saying it was a clean hit.

And those guys would know! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Apparently Wally was showing the Moreno hit on Burris to the media today and saying it was a clean hit. He was showing how Moreno tried to brace his hit by putting his knees down on the turf first to lessen the blow. He also wanted to prove that the refs made the right call here.

I think Higgins was pissed off Buono did this. Not really sure why Wally would care too much about this other than validating the league and the refs on making the right call. Guess the league needs some positive exposure after Tillman pissed all over it this week.

Tillman never made any comments about the Burris hit.

Wally is trying to play mind games with Tom before the game. Also trying to deflect some of the scrutiny away from his team by supporting the refs....I suspect the refs will see through it...

Just maybe Wally is doing a bit of brown nosing so he will get good calls for tonights game. No big deal. They are both good friends and have worked together. This is a nothing issue.

Cue in the chorus the battle for Tillman is in another thread time to move on troll! Where is a mod when you need one. :lol:

Mike isn’t the one that brought up Tillman. He was simply adding to a previous comment.

REally should I give you the link where this happened this morning and I was told not to change the subject of a thread. Oh yes RLR mentioned it. :lol:

I seriously think you have lost it RW05. Frist you respond to RLR response to me. Where the Tillman quote was clearily written. And then you call me a troll....once again RW05's way is the only one that counts.

Can you two cut it out already, let’s talk football.