A drop in temperature

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

How can you tell the heat is off Edmonton Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia?

There wasn't a horde of media at the team's light workout late yesterday afternoon.

No sports columnists.

No TV cameras.

No newspaper photographers.

Just two beat reporters.

"How come such a small turnout today?" joked Maciocia.

A 37-20 win against the previously undefeated B.C. Lions on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium will keep almost every reporter at home.

A much-needed win will also make it easier for Maciocia to leave his home.

"Losing is not fun. It's like going to work and not having a productive day," said the coach.

"The beauty about this sport - and a lot of other sports - is no matter what you do during the course of the week, it's those three hours (on game day) that count.

"And you are being exposed. It's not like a regular job where if you don't have a good day, you go home (and) you don't have to worry about going to the grocery store or going to pick up a coffee and (what) people are going to tell you along the way."

"It's unique (this job), but it's beautiful."

MUCH-NEEDED WIN

Tony Tompkins' 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter proved to be the winning score for the Green and Gold on Saturday - and received plenty of attention in the locker-room.

Slightly overlooked was the team's intensity right from the opening kickoff.

"The level of intensity was amazing," continued Maciocia. "On the sidelines you felt it. Our bench was alive throughout the whole game. Play after play after play, whether it was offence, defence or special teams.

"I haven't seen that in a while, especially in a regular-season game."

The fact the undefeated B.C. Lions came calling had something to do with it, but there were other reasons.

"I'm sure some of the guys felt like they had something to prove," explained Maciocia.

The Green and Gold certainly proved they could be more disciplined.

The most penalized team in the league cut its penalty total in half, taking just 44 yards against the Lions.

Has the team learned a lesson?

"Oh, definitely," said linebacker A.J. Gass. "We did a great job of playing under control but with a lot of intensity and a lot of passion, and the penalties showed that.

"Penalties are a killer. You are basically giving the other team field position. We stopped that and I think we will continue to stop that."

With Saskatchewan and Calgary just two points behind in the race for second place in the CFL Western Division, the Eskimos can't afford to let up, even though the team will face a much different opponent this week.

Unlike the 11-1 Lions, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have won just twice this year.

But don't let the record fool you, according to Joe Montford.

"This is probably one of the scariest teams in the league right now," said Montford of the Tiger-Cats.

"Hamilton has had situations where they could have beat B.C., they could have beat Montreal. They could have beat us when they came here.

"They are not a pushover.

"Then you have to go into Ivor Wynne ... which is one of the hardest stadiums to come out with a win.

"We definitely have to have our A game going in there."

JUST SIX POINTS

Hamilton lost by just six points to the B.C. Lions in mid-July and lost by that same margin one week later at Commonwealth.

When the Eskimos leave for their return encounter in Hamilton on Wednesday, there is a good chance all-star receiver Ed Hervey and defensive lineman Rashad Jeanty could be on the flight.

One thing is certain: it will be a much more enjoyable flight after relieving some of the intense heat that was building around this team.


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