Hall is in da house

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Let the speculation begin -- again.

With Richie Hall ending the first guessing game when he was named Edmonton Eskimos head coach yesterday, now there are plenty of rumblings about possible assistant coaches.

Alex Smith (Saskatchewan's special teams and linebackers coach) and Ron Estay (Saskatchewan defensive line coach) will surely be considered for posts in Edmonton.

Smith is regarded as one of Hall's closest friends.

The pair worked together for 12 years - including this season - in Regina.

Estay is one of the great all-time Eskimos, winning six Grey Cups with the club.

There are health concerns surrounding Estay.

There is also the matter of Don Wnek being the highly respected Eskimo D-line coach this year.

Rumblings also suggest Jim Daley - a former Rider head coach who had Hall as an assistant - and Greg Marshall are possible assistant coaching candidates.

There is also speculation that Noel Thorpe - the Esks current special teams co-ordinator - could be named assistant head coach or, at the very least, remain in his current role.

It's believed Thorpe will definitely remain in some capacity with the team after being the apparent runner-up to Hall in the head-coaching derby.

"You are disappointed," said Thorpe on not being chosen bench boss. "But I think once it sets in, you come to the realization that coach Hall is very deserving of this opportunity. I wish him all the best.

"I am excited for Richie Hall."

On the other side of the ball, offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman and Hall spoke yesterday.

"I'm excited for (Hall). It's well deserved," said Worman, who is open to further conversations.

Working in Worman's favour is the fact he is close with star quarterback Ricky Ray.

As for current Edmonton defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell, his future with the organization is cloudy at best.

Hall did attempt to reach Campbell by phone yesterday.

What is clear is that Hall will not be the defensive co-ordinator, pulling double duty.

"(But) what we have done in Saskatchewan over the last number of years will be very influential on the defensive style of the Edmonton Eskimos for '09," offered Hall.

Reading between the lines, that might leave Campbell as a longshot to be retained.

"He should be coaching in this league," offered veteran Edmonton linebacker Shannon Garrett on Campbell. "It would be hard for me to see Rick go."

There are so many possibilities in play with an assistant coaching staff likely in place before the free-agent market opens in February.

What appears certain, though, is Hall has complete control over who he hires for his assistants.

"Coach is going to have full autonomy as far as the coaching staff is concerned," said GM Danny Maciocia.

"He has asked me questions about people still under contract with us.

"But he has to feel comfortable.

"I am no longer a coach. I am not dealing with (the assistant coaching staff) on a daily basis. Coach Hall will."


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