Danny's world

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

In his darkest days as Edmonton Eskimo head coach, Danny Maciocia is receiving support and advice from powerful football figures across the country.

"Edmonton isn't having success this season but Danny Maciocia is still a great football coach and they have a nucleus of a great football team," said Toronto head coach Pinball Clemons late Saturday night.

"We're so used to Edmonton being successful, they don't know what a down season is. This kind of thing can happen, and if it happens that they don't make the playoffs, then move on and put up another thirty-some in a row. That's the idea."

The Green and Gold are a dismal 4-9 and buried in the West Division basement.

Their playoff hopes are almost gone as they have lost seven of their last nine games, which has sparked yet another round of calls for Maciocia's firing.

Seemingly forgotten is the fact the sophomore head coach guided the Esks to a Grey Cup last year.

That is one of the reasons why team CEO Hugh Campbell wants to bring Maciocia back next year.

Wally Buono - likely the most respected head coach in the CFL - chimed in on the Eskimo woes before the B.C. Lions battled the Saskatchewan Roughriders yesterday in Regina, agreeing with Campbell.

"I don't think it is the right thing to do (to fire Maciocia)," said Buono.

Away from the media spotlight, Buono and Maciocia regularly talk once a week on the phone - and Buono has a piece of advice for his fellow counterpart.

"The biggest thing is you can't take the (the intense criticism) personally," said the Lions' bench boss.

After sitting through the majority of last Friday's stinker at Commonwealth Stadium, legendary Eskimo quarterback Tom Wilkinson firmly believes coaching isn't the problem.

"The talent level is certainly lower than it has been in quite a few years," shot Wilkinson.

"When you look at the game and you see a play that was there and it was either a dropped pass or rarely thrown in the right spot or there was a holding penalty or some kind of penalty that brought that play back, then I don't know how you can think it's the coaching."

STAMPEDER SHAKE-UP?: Now that the silliness around Jim Barker has died down, it's time to focus on the more intriguing rumour surrounding the Calgary Stampeders.

According to a Toronto report, some of the Stamp owners are contemplating the future involvement of team president Ted Hellard.

Apparently there is some tension in the Calgary front office while the team is contending for first place in the West Division.

Booting Hellard out would have ramifications across the league, as Hellard is a key figure in the fight for the salary management system and is a key player on the CFL's search committee to find a new owner in the Ottawa market.

SUPERSTITION: Ron Lancaster quietly kept his streak alive this past week, when he failed to visit his son's Edmonton home while the Ticats were in town.

"It's just classic," smiled R.D. Lancaster, an Eskimo offensive assistant coach. "He's very, very routine (oriented)."

The young Lancaster has lived in three homes - one in Winnipeg and two in Edmonton - in the last three years, but dad hasn't shown up.

Instead, the Little General had his typical pregame meal - cheeseburger and fries - at a local Edmonton restaurant with R.D.'s family before retiring to the hotel on Thursday night.


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