Committee vs. Chapdelaine

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

The B.C. Lions are now sans Jacques. But do they have too many chefs?

When Jacques Chapdelaine, architect of the Grey Cup champion Leos' offence, took the assistant coach and offensive coordinator job with the Edmonton Eskimos, Lions' head coach and general manager Wally Buono did the unconventional.

Instead of recruiting a replacement externally or hiring one from within, he spread the duties around.

Quarterbacks' coach Steff Kruck and offensive line coach Dan Dorazio became co-offensive coordinators.

Tonight will be the first head-to-head regular season test of coaching systems as Chapdelaine returns to B.C. Place Stadium with the Esks, the worst team in the west last season (7:30 p.m. Team 1040/Sirius).

"Jacques pretty much put the [B.C.] system together," said slotback Geroy Simon. "Steff is still finding his way, he's doing a good job. It's going to take some time, but we're still a good enough offense, a good enough team."

Part of the post-Chapdelaine era includes a greater reliance on big running back Joe Smith, who scored two touchdowns in the season opener at Toronto.

"A lot of guys don't like tackling him," Simon said. "We're going to use that to our advantage."

Coaching by committee is rare because it often doesn't work. But Buono is confident it will succeed in 2007 for the simple reason that it's the players who make the plays.

"Anything that's accomplished successfully, is accomplished as a team effort," Kruck said. "It's never just one individual. If you have good players it makes your job a lot easier."

Buono is also offering input. Same with Jamie Barresi, the receivers' coach and former Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive coordinator. Quarterback Dave Dickenson has more control over his plays and teammates' suggestions are also getting a fair hearing.

"We had a blocked kick (against Toronto) because we listened to Barron Miles, we had a good return on our kickoff return team because we made an adjustment based on a player's recommendation," Buono said. "You have to always take the information and make the most of it, you've got to be able to decipher what's valuable and what isn't."

Dickenson said he prefers the single-coach system. But if B.C.'s chefs can cook a gourmet season with a Grey Cup served for dessert in November, then so be it.


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