VANCOUVER - For the first third of the season Wally Buono had turned into a dummy. He’d lost it. Was getting too old to keep coaching.
For the second third of the season the winningest coach in CFL history — who will make it No. 250 with his next win — returned to being a genius.
The Lions were 1-5 in the first third and 5-1 in the second third.
How did that happen Prof. Buono?
“Attitude,” he said.
“Line of scrimmage,” he added.
“Additions,” he ticked off another reason.
The interrogators at the pre-game press conference were with him until that last one.
It’s been well documented that it has been a wild and crazy year in the CFL and Buono says there’s a reason for it. There’s no dominant team. Parity prevails.
“You better be good that week or you’re going to get beat.”
And that’s the message to his 6-6 team as they face the 7-5 Eskimos who have had almost an exact opposite season. After starting the season at 5-0, the Eskimos have only won two of their last seven games.
“We need to be ready to play a very important football game against a team that’s two points ahead of us.
“Ricky Ray has all his weapons. This is not the team we faced six weeks ago,” he said of the game in Edmonton the Lions won 36-1 to turn their season around, starting the current streak.
NO MORE REST FOR RESTELLI: Linebacker Mark Restelli returns to the line-up for the Eskimos in place of injured Greg Peach. Restelli returned from the NFL training camp of the Miami Dolphins after two previous seasons in Edmonton and was a spectator for the first two games since his return. The Eskimos will also make Damon Duval the punter and kicker for this one, taking Derek Schiavone out of the lineup to be replaced by linebacker Hugo Lopez.