Maciocia feeling 'more relaxed'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

In the lull before another hectic football season, Danny Maciocia will be able to relax.

Surrounded by his family, the Eskimo head coach will actually be able to put football out of his mind during a quiet next week. His thoughts will always wander back to football, but he won't be as stressed as last year when he was rookie head coach.

"It's going to be a little more relaxing because I think I'm better prepared going into my second year," he said.

And the rest of the team is also in better shape heading into this season, according to the coach.

"We faced so much adversity last year and we were able to battle and get to know each other," added Maciocia.

"Everything we experienced should make for an easier time the second time around."

Maciocia met with the national media yesterday on a conference call to discuss the state of the defending Grey Cup champions - and there wasn't a hint of concern from the bench boss.

"I'm pretty comfortable going into camp as far as the talent pool is concerned and also the depth that comes with every position," he added.

"I think the only place where there isn't much competition is the (starting) quarterback position.

"Everywhere else there's going to be competition that's going to be pretty stiff and everybody has been advised accordingly that when they come to camp to make sure they don't live in the past.

"Last year is already forgotten.

"Our focus is on 2006 and trying to do it one more time."

The team did lose valuable backup pivot Jason Maas and the offensive line will look different without Bruce Beaton and Kevin Lefsrud.

But by resigning all of their key free agents, including all-stars Jason Tucker and Troy Davis, along with acquiring Anthony Collier and Pat Woodcock from the Ottawa dispersal draft, it's easy to see why Maciocia sounds confident.

LATE HITS: Jarred Winkel suddenly has a bright smile on his face. After being passed over in the CFL draft, the Eskimos have signed the University of Alberta running back.

"I'm really thrilled," said Winkel.

Golden Bear linebacker Neil Ternovatsky has also signed with the Esks. The pair will compete for jobs on special teams.

HASH MARKS: Due to construction at Concordia College, Eskimo training camp will be staged at Clarke Park and the practice field adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium starting May 21.


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