Picking the carcass

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Danny Maciocia suddenly has more work on his hands.

The Edmonton Eskimo head coach was already preparing for next week's CFL college draft, but now has the task of determining what parts to pick off the Ottawa Renegade carcass.

With the CFL mothballing the Renegades yesterday, a dispersal draft is around the corner.

A formal date hasn't been set, and it's unclear if the remaining eight teams will be allowed to have expanded rosters to handle the influx of players.

But one thing is certain: Maciocia isn't going to specifically target one area of his team to improve on when the dispersal draft starts.

In other words, the offensive line - which is in a state of limbo with three possible veterans disappearing - is not the main focus.

"Our philosophy is take the best player available," said Maciocia.

"I'm pretty happy with our offensive line. I think I might be the only one in Edmonton who thinks that."

The Eskimos will pick last in every round of the draft, meaning big names like quarterback Kerry Joseph, receiver Jason Armstead, offensive lineman Val St. Germain and defensive back Korey Banks will likely be long gone.

But the first two rounds should produce some solid additions and make competition even tougher at training camp.

MAJOR CHANGES: The Eskimos' schedule has been turned on its ear because the Renegades have disappeared for 2006.

The Green and Gold will still play 18 regular-season games with two byes, but will now have to battle the Calgary Stampeders four times, including a home-and-away series to start the year.

"We're going to start with a bang," said Maciocia, who takes his club to Cowtown to open the campaign on June 17. "I think it's pretty exciting and our players will be up for it.

"Calgary will be a force to be reckoned with, and it shows we don't pick the CFL schedule."

Since coming to Edmonton five years ago, Maciocia has heard the rumours that the Eskimos dictate how the schedule is drawn up.

Based on the initial 2006 slate, the Esks opened their home schedule against the hapless Renegades.

GOAL LINES: The CFL schedule maker ensured the Eskimos still have their traditional Labour Day series with the Stamps. However, Edmonton fans will not see Jason Maas return to Commonwealth until Sept. 22 ... The Eskimo brass wanted to open the year against Hamilton ... A kink in the schedule allows the Green and Gold to spend the entire month of July at home ... Every game will still be on TV this year.


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