Dumb call? Let Maciocia explain ...

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Former B.C. and Ottawa general manager Eric Tillman went on national TV and said Danny Maciocia made a dumb call. Open-line radio shows the morning after the Western final were questioning why in the world Maciocia did what he did and suggesting he is one very lucky young head coach, indeed.

And tell me you didn't sit in front of the TV and, with the Eskimos leading by a converted touchdown late in the game, didn't shout, 'What are you doing?' when he conceded a safety touch and gave up a guarantee of at least a tie and a chance to win in overtime.

It was against everything in the coaches' handbook. Why did he do it?

"We were on our four-yard line," said the coach who brings his team back here today for the 93rd Grey Cup game.

"We were missing three guys with injuries from our punt coverage team. We were seriously scrambling. We were running out of people. In addition, Sean Fleming was having a little bit of trouble with his quad.

"I turned to Rick Campbell and said, 'Can we win with only a five-point lead?' He said, 'You bet!' I decided to give up the safety and put the defence out there. It was a matter of trusting our defence.

"I called a time-count violation. Half the distance to the goal line. Two yards. It took time off the clock. I took Fleming out of there and sent in Mookie Mitchell to take the snap and run off a few more seconds in the end zone.

"I was counting on Wally Buono taking the ball on their own 35 because we really didn't want to kick.

"They went three and out, we got the ball back and we had the potential of a 41-yard field goal. But again, Sean had that little problem with his quad. And I didn't want my offensive linemen running down on coverage. We decided to kick the field goal out of bounds. We took another time-count violation on purpose and pinned them inside the 20."

Defensive co-ordinator Campbell said the head coach, who doubles as offensive co-ordinator, went against conservative football strategy.

"He showed real confidence in the defence. We'll all remember that a long time."

"For him to trust us with the game on the line was great," said linebacker Singor Mobley. "We knew we could stop them and rise to the occasion and we did that."

CEO Hugh Campbell said most coaches would have gone the other way.

"They'd have been willing to take the tie and go to overtime. He put the game on the shoulders of the defence. I agree with what he did."


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