Who fires the Esks coach?

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia looks on as they face the Stampeders during first half...

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia looks on as they face the Stampeders during first half action at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alta., on Monday. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Forget about firing the coach.

Who fires the coach?

That's the question.

Is it Hugh Campbell? If it is, why was he at his cabin in Idaho Monday? If Rome is burning, what the hell was he doing in Paris?

Is it Rick LeLacheur? And if it is, why is he on the second page of the fact book behind Campbell, and why does he hole up in the small office beside Campbell's big one?

Where does the buck stop?

To be asking that question in the first week of September is insane. Campbell is a man I respect more than anybody in all of Eskimos history, but to be at the lake on this Labour Day in this situation is the sports equivalent to what 'jumping the shark' is to the entertainment business in reference to the episode which ended it for Happy Days.

If Campbell is effectively now just a consultant -- and if he isn't there is something seriously wrong here -- the Esks have to come out of the closet about it.

Fans seem to be fixated on wanting the coach fired. Forget about firing the coach.

The first thing that has to happen here, regardless of how this season turns out, must be to restructure the football side of the franchise.

Forget about Maciocia the coach. Right now he's essentially the GM, coach and offensive co-ordinator. Shouldn't he have a football guy as his boss? One who is not at the lake on Labour Day when the team is 3-7 and looking at missing the playoffs for the first time in 35 years?

Going forward to the future, whoever the coach is, there should be a football guy between LeLacheur and the coach.

Where does the buck stop? The optics on the transition of power from Campbell to LeLacheur are just awful on this as the Eskimos' season goes down the drain.

TAKES FULL ACCOUNTABILITY

"I'm the president. I take full accountability and responsibility. The buck stops here," said LeLacheur yesterday. "Hugh is still the CEO. He has the right to overrule me if he ever thinks that's right. He hasn't yet. We work very closely together. I think he wasn't there on Labour Day because he doesn't want to interfere. He's there for the coaches. He believes they are good coaches. He believes in the staff."

His son is one of the coaches! Again, the optics are awful.

LeLacheur has been groomed for this job, and is unquestionably the right man for the job. He has the right philosophies for the moment as he proved in answering the tough questions yesterday.

"You can't knee-jerk in sports. We are not going to knee- jerk. No matter where we finish we will evaluate how we did at the end of the season. It's at that point that decisions will be made," he said.

NO AIRLIFT COMING

If the Eskimos lose again to the Stampeders Friday, not only will the coach not be fired, there will be no airlift, LeLacheur said.

"We might have a player or two, but we're not going to go make wholesale changes for the sake of making wholesale changes."

There have already been plenty of changes. But look what's ahead now. This is a team which normally reloads. Suddenly looking at one which is likely going to be rebuilding.

"We have a lot of veterans and a lot of first-year players," LeLacheur said. "We don't have many 'tweeners."

If the season is sewered, you have to look at Ed Hervey, Singor Mobley, Mookie Mitchell, Malcolm Frank, etc. -- and their future here. Whether it is Danny Maciocia or somebody else, one guy essentially being GM, head coach and offensive co-ordinator is too much for one man, much less a man in his second year as coach.

"Danny has a lot of his fingers in the pie," admitted LeLacheur, who promises that the end-of-season review will include that area. "We will evaluate everything, not just the people, but the way we're doing things."

But the boss, if he is in fact the boss, says forget about all of that for now.

"We have not given up on this year," said LeLacheur.


Videos

Photos