Too many questions!

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Q You had a Cinderella finish to your season last year - winning a Grey Cup in your first year as head coach in Edmonton. How do you motivate yourself after reaching the pinnacle last year?

A "That is a thing of the past. I want to do this for the next 25 years and I can't refer to the past if I want to last. I want to go out there and prove to myself that we can do it again. I am hungrier (than last year). I am not the happiest camper right now after the way we played (in the pre-season) and that tells me that I'm still hungry."

Q While the finish was spectacular, the ride to the wire was very rocky last year. Who helped you the most to get through all the adversity you and your team faced in 2005?

A "My dad played a huge role. He lived it with me. Every day when I was coming to work - it was 6:30 a.m. here, but 8:30 a.m. back east - and we just talked. He has been in the public eye for the last 30 years (in Quebec politics), so there is so much he can offer. The greatest satisfaction I have had was sending him a 2005 Grey Cup ring ... because he was part of my team."

Q You didn't scream at the official in Regina during the first pre-season game when Jason Tucker almost had his head taken off and there was no flag. It looks like you have learned some things from last year.

A "It takes a lot of energy to scream. There is going to be a point in time when I am going to say what I need to say, but I think you need to pick your spots. I watch Wally (Buono) and Don (Matthews) and they don't do much screaming and they still get their point across."

Q What else did you learn?

A "There was a point in time last year when I was trying to please too many people. That is just in my character, trying to keep people happy. But I had to make a few key decisions in the second-half of the season that weren't crowd-pleasing decisions or even pleased too many members of our football team. And I am sure glad I did so. And I am glad I witnessed that kind of adversity because I think it will make me a better coach."

Q What is the one thing about your game day routine that would surprise people?

A "When I fill out the roster, (equipment manager) Dwayne Mandrusiak and I do it together because I messed it up in the pre-season last year."

Q When your team leaves you completely frustrated after a game, how do you wind down?

A "That is the part I don't like about this game. You come up short - or even if you win a football game - you are just too wired afterward. The juices are still flowing and you go home and you are still thinking about it. Now, it is four o'clock in the morning and you are tossing and turning and you can't get any sleep - and you know you have to get up in a couple of hours to come to work. So, there are times when I just sit on my sofa and watch the highlights for the umpteenth time. And after some of the toughest losses I have ever been through I have gone home and just pretty much hugged my daughters and spent some time with them. To see them and hold them calms me down a little bit and puts things into perspective."

Q When Don Matthews eventually leaves Montreal, you know this question is going to constantly come: Do you want to be the head coach in your native city of Montreal?

A "I am not going to deny that in the first two years I came here, I was happy being an Eskimo, but I was (thinking) that I only wanted to be here a year or two and then move on. But I now have a six-year-old that goes to school here. And I have a two-year-old and all she knows is Edmonton. My wife and I have really taken a liking to Edmonton and you are not going to find a better organization than the Eskimos. I hope I am going to be here a long time - and I wouldn't have said this two years ago, but I call Edmonton home now. I am living my dream right here in Edmonton."

Q Do you pay attention to radio talk shows and newspapers during the football season?

A "I am not going to be one of those guys that says he doesn't read it or listen to it. Some of that stuff motivates me - I'm not going to deny it. Maybe I am a sucker for punishment that I need to listen to it so it gets me fired up again."

Q In the wake of the Ricky Williams signing and Onterrio Smith's short visit in Winnipeg, should the CFL honour NFL suspensions?

A "There has been so much focus on these two cases ... but I think there is so much more you can focus on when you talk about the CFL. I would clearly lean toward (honouring) the suspensions. If you are suspended - you are suspended."

Q What record will it take to win the West Division this year?

A "The West is so crazy that there is a possibility that if you play .500 you will win the West. It will be tough for anybody to win 13 or 14 games."

THE POP CULTURE QUIZ

Latest movie watched: The Incredibles.

Latest book read: Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani.

Person you'd most like to meet: Colin Powell.

Thoughts on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's new media policy: "How do you get to pick and choose who asks the questions and what kind of questions they are going to ask? I think we live in a democracy and people are free to express how they feel, and if they have a question you should take that question, whether you like it or not."

Weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you: "Last year, on Fan Day at training camp, a fan came up to me ... and he said, 'I would have fired you last year.' My family was right there with me. I really enjoyed that one."

Weirdest thing a media member has ever said to you: "It was the 2003 Grey Cup in Regina and my father was standing to next me ... the French media (reporter) asked my dad who he was rooting for."

Worst CFL stadium facility for a visiting team: "The facilities at Ivor Wynne (Hamilton) don't do much for me."


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