Esks faced similar situation in '82
The Leader-Post (Regina)
Wed 16 Aug 2006
Byline: Darrell Davis
Column: Around The CFL
Source: The Leader-Post
Twenty-four years ago the Edmonton Eskimos were the reigning Grey Cup champions, sitting last in their division with a 3-5 record.
Just like today.
Except their coach in 1982 was Hugh Campbell, who is now the Eskimos' chief executive officer. Campbell was leaving the Eskimos after that season to join the USFL's Los Angeles Express, but he had one serious motivational task facing him in Edmonton.
"It was very much like Davey Crockett at the Alamo,'' Campbell recalled Tuesday. "I took my foot and drew a line in the locker room and said, 'Here's the deal: I'm going to the Grey Cup.' I had never talked about going to the Grey Cup in all my career. 'The ones who are staying, stay here. The ones who aren't, get to the other side. I'll make sure you get your paycheques, but get the hell out of our way!' I had drawn the line very strategically: All the guys were already on the right side of it.
"In my coaching career in Canada I didn't lose another game after that. But afterwards, (Eskimos general manager) Norm Kimball told me that if more than one guy had crossed that line, we would have never paid them.''
The '82 Eskimos won their next 10 straight games, including the Grey Cup. It was their fifth straight CFL championship.
"The deal with every team is, you keep on keeping on and sometimes it works out,'' said Campbell, when asked how current Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia might rally his troops to another championship. "The only place you get in trouble is if you give up, if you believe you can't do it. We have players who are capable of having a strong finish. We're also so close to other teams, we're capable of not having a strong finish. We have to keep on plugging.
"Danny has a wonderful way about him. He loves the players and they can feel that. He's smart about what he does. We have a good chance.''
Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Demetrious Maxie is a 31-year-old, 13-year CFL veteran with a sales pitch for his future career: "This is as tough a year as I've ever seen in the West. That's good for the league. Hopefully that will bring out some rich people to buy more teams, because that's what we need. They can make me their general manager'' ... While being asked by a TV interviewer about making a late-game sack in his team's 24-18 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, Eskimos defensive end Charles Alston yelled out kudos to a likely viewer: "Wassup, Joe? You might not be here, but you're with us in spirit.'' Veteran defensive end Joe Montford, evidently a mentor for the youthful Eskimos pass rushers, had been released six days before the game ... When Montreal Alouettes head coach Don Matthews recently signed a two-year contract extension, to the dismay of the media who regularly cover the team, he apparently leaked the story to a French-language newspaper columnist who had not attended a game or practice this year.
Odds are quarterback Casey Printers (formerly of the B.C. Lions) won't make the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, while former Eskimos defensive lineman/linebacker Rashad Jeanty will make the Cincinnati Bengals. Jeanty would certainly help the Eskimos' makeshift defensive line, while Printers' return to B.C. would muck up its quarterback situation. Here's a likely scenario: Printers gets released in early September and signs with the Toronto Argonauts, who vow that he will replace Damon Allen, a move that could come later this season or certainly at the beginning of 2007 ... One of three groups interested in resurrecting CFL football in Ottawa has recruited Jeff Hunt, owner of junior hockey's Ottawa 67s. He gives them credibility, but he's reportedly not giving them any money ... The Hamilton Tiger-Cats haven't scored a touchdown in eight quarters. On Saturday they visit the Roughriders, who have scored one touchdown in 10 quarters. For anyone betting the over-under, it's unofficially 2.5 points. "I don't care about that,'' said Tiger-Cats head coach Ron Lancaster, when reminded about the scoring drought by the Hamilton Spectator's Ken Peters. "We aren't playing worth a damn offensively. I don't need somebody to keep telling me you haven't scored a touchdown in eight quarters. We aren't doing anything in eight quarters. You have a unique grasp of the obvious.'' After Lancaster questioned the team's personnel and offensive play-calling, that may not bode well for player personnel director Craig Smith or offensive co-ordinator Joe Paopao.