Two pieces of free advice for all-everything Eskimo guru Danny Maciocia:
- Whether Kevin Strasser or Steve Buratto or somebody else comes in as co-ordinator, the offensive line will have to be better than at the start of last season. It's wise, to recognize the work done by veteran line coach Bill MacDermott in improving the mixture of young and old by the end of the year.
Patrick Kabongo's problem of being overweight can be solved. Joe McGrath's inconsistency became less of a problem as the season lengthened. The decision to let Kevin Lefsrud stay on his farm was clearly wrong.
Through it all, MacDermott's experience and the hard work of the young linemen were positives.
Last season, the offensive line was a question. In 2007, it figures to be a major strength.
- A recent visitor to his old hometown was Mike McLean, the former CFL linebacker who did a terrific job in leading the Huskies to 2004 and 2005 national titles.
McLean spent last year at St. Mary's University - coaching the defence, of course - and did an excellent job there, too. For several years, McLean left absolutely no doubt that he plans to climb the coaching ladder, either to the CFL or as a head man at a university. One day, he'll get his wish. It seems to me the Eskimos would be wise to give him a chance.
Stay, Gary, stay
It's not too late to praise Gary Durchik for sparking the Wildcats to the national final. He once suggested that he would retire, win or lose, at the end of the outstanding 2006 season.
If you appreciate the fact that Durchik values his players more than he values victory on the field, you have to hope he stays involved with the Prairie Conference team for a long, long time.
The same applies to Huskies offensive co-ordinator John Belmont. He is threatening to work with school programs closer to his new home in the Pigeon Lake neighbourhood and work on recruiting for the Huskies.
"Nobody is impossible to replace," Belmont told me a couple of weeks ago. True, but some gaps are bigger than others.
Life in the fast lane
As a kid in Toronto, my first full-time sports assignment was stock car racing. I've had a love afffair with the sport ever since, which explains my feeling that the arrival of the World of Outlaws at Castrol Raceway next summer will be an incredible high.
After a slump in interest that lasted for years,the Rocky Mountain Nationals and the Champ Car race have put Edmonton back in a prominent place on the auto racing map. The annual CASCAR show at the Wetaskiwin track is a big deal, too.
Somehow, many fans ignore the sprint car shows at the place we used to call Bud Park.
The gritty dirt-track appeal of the World of Outlaws could change all that. Speed Channel soon will announce 12 sprint-car shows in 2007. Edmonton could be on the list.