Shuffling the deck

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

In significant need of kick starting a struggling offence, the Edmonton Eskimos are hoping Carl Brennan can re-create past success with offensive co-ordinator Jacques Chapdelaine.

Ending a coaching era in this city, Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia has promoted Brennan to offensive line coach, replacing long-time assistant Bill Macdermott who becomes an advance scout.

'CHEMISTRY'

"There's chemistry between (Brennan) and coach Chapdelaine," said Maciocia. "There's a history there. They have won a ton of games together. They won a Vanier Cup."

For four years near the turn of the decade, Brennan and Chapdelaine worked together at Laval University. With Chapdelaine as head coach, Brennan guided the offensive line as the club won the national collegiate title in 1999.

"I'm looking forward to having them work together and try to put together an explosive offence," said Maciocia.

"One that is going to be able to take the field and hopefully score points every time we are out there."

For 13 of the past 15 years Macdermott handled the offensive line, outlasting three head coaches.

Maciocia didn't offer a single word of criticism in making the coaching change, even though the offensive line has been a major target of complaints for a few years.

"It is just restructuring," stated Maciocia. "I think Coach Mac is probably one of the top two offensive line coaches in the CFL.

"(But) at some point in time you are going to have to make changes.

"It's a reality of life, really."

Recovering at home from minor eye surgery, Macdermott doesn't seem bothered by the change, even though this will be the first time in 48 years he won't be on the sidelines.

"I am not a sad person," said Macdermott, who is 70 years old. "I don't spend much time happy or sad. To me this is another aspect of football that I will go into."

With Macdermott calling the shots with the O-line, the Esks won three Grey Cups.

But last year, with a revamped front five, Edmonton struggled offensively.

Ranking fifth in the league in points scored, Edmonton's ground game was non-existent at times while the line gave up 42 sacks.

After coaching the running backs last year, Brennan returns to more familiar ground.

As Saskatchewan's offensive line coach in 2005, the Riders led the league in all the key rushing categories and surrendered a league low 23 sacks.

In Edmonton, the offensive system and blocking schemes will change this season with Chapdelaine at the controls.

But it appears Brennan will enter camp with the same starting five lineman from last year.

"I think we have one of the better groups in the league," said Brennan.

The new O-line boss also stresses life won't be awkward around Eskimo camp with Macdermott's scouting office in the locker room.

"We sat down a couple of days ago," said Brennan. "Things are fine."

UNDERSTANDS

Veteran guard Dan Comiskey - who played under Macdermott for four years - understands the move.

"Football is a game of evolution," said Comiskey. "We have to change and we have to continue changing and that is how winning teams continue to win.

"Obviously I am sorry to see Mac go. But I have a lot of respect for Carl and I look forward to watching him bring what he has to the table."

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ESKIMOS COACHING STAFF

Danny Maciocia - head coach, director of football operations

Jacques Chapdelaine - associate head coach, offensive co-ordinator

Carl Brennan - offensive line

Rick Campbell - defensive co-ordinator, defensive backs

Malvin Hunter - defensive line

Danny Kepley - linebackers

Scott Squires - special teams

Bill Macdermott - advance scout


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