Someone light a fire

Eskimos coach Danny Maciocia gives an earful to an official as they face the Stampeders in early...

Eskimos coach Danny Maciocia gives an earful to an official as they face the Stampeders in early August. (Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

Fire Maciocia. Fire Maciocia. Fire Maciocia. Fire Macioica. Fire Maciocia.

The calls were lined up on the Eskimos' rights-holder radio station for CEO Rick LeLacheur's drive all the way back from Calgary to Edmonton. They even extended the call-in session another half hour to accommodate the callers still on hold.

It was totally predictable, of course.

It was going to be "Fire The Coach" in one of these two cities after Labour Day no matter what.

The Eskimos lost. It's fire Maciocia.

"I don't get caught up in that, to be quite honest," said Danny Maciocia yesterday, handling cries for his scalp without pulling a Grant Fuhr and calling the fans jerks.

"It is easy to go out there and fire people. That is the easiest thing you can do.

"I wake up every morning, come to work and work hard. I give it all I've got. So do the rest of the coaches. And the players, when they come to work, they give us all they've got.

"At the end of the day, I can live with that. That's what keeps me going."

Idiotic idea

Firing Maciocia between games of the Labour Day double header is just about the most idiotic idea I've heard from a significant number of my constituents in a long time.

I mean, gimme a break. You'd think the guy was Pete Kettela.

Remember Pigskin Pete? He was the guy Norm Kimball hired to replace Hugh Campbell the year after Campbell won his fifth Grey Cup in a row and left to go to the USFL and then the NFL. Kettela was canned after losing the 1983 Labour Day Classic and replaced by Jackie Parker.

He had to be axed because, without a doubt, he had lost his football team.

"Losing the dressing room is the No. 1 thing you look for," said LeLacheur.

"There are no signs of that at all."

And he's right. There aren't.

LeLacheur understands the fans being upset.

"Everybody involved should be concerned with our record," he said of being 3-5-1 at the midway mark of the season.

You won't hear Maciocia's boss whining about all the injuries, etc., like his employee has definitely done on occasion - one of the reasons I believe that a significant percentage of the population has turned against him since he won the Grey Cup in his first year as head coach.

LeLacheur is from the old school. He believes if you give a player an excuse, he'll take it.

"I refuse to lay it on injuries. They are part of football. That's why you need depth. When you have injuries, you better coach 'em up.

"What we need right now is more continuity. We need to stop making changes and stay with the players we have and keep the coaches we have to get everybody involved together to pull this together.

"It doesn't make sense to make changes at this time of year and it especially doesn't make sense to make changes in this type of situation."

He said all the right things yesterday, too.

But it wouldn't hurt if LeLacheur did point out a couple of things to Mr. Maciocia.

I'm a big believer in body language and the body language of his team keeps saying to me that they don't believe.

Intensity?

Where's the intensity? Where's the fire?

Where's the emotion? Where's the passion?

And surely an alleged offensive coaching genius like Jacques Chapdelaine can come up with something other than a zero-chance running play into the line on second and two.

To me, it was expected that the Eskimos would give up a couple of touchdowns because of the just-off-the-plane people they were forced to play in the secondary.

But it's the play of the other guys that bothers me. The tackling. The penalties.

And, paging Trevor Gaylor and Adam Braidwood: Either of you guys going to show up this year?

LeLacheur says one thing is obvious.

"Clearly we need to win more games than we lose in the second half of the season."

If they don't, he may have to suggest the director of football operations fire himself. Or fire the director of football operations.

Firing Maciocia the coach right now makes little sense. Firing Maciocia the director of football operations makes less. Who even knows what kind of a job he's done at that yet? Win Friday and somebody can drive back listening to "Fire Higgins. Fire Higgins. Fire Higgins ..."


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