Esks signalling a change

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

Random thoughts and observations after three days of Edmonton Eskimos' training camp...

- Head coach Danny Maciocia has his hands back on the offence.

Maciocia will be calling the offensive plays from the sidelines for quarterback Ricky Ray this season, Sun Media has learned.

That is a stark contrast from last year when offensive co-ordinator Jacques Chapdelaine called every single play from the bench.

Rick Worman carries the offensive co-ordinator title this year but will spend the pre-season and regular-season games in the coaching booth at press box level.

"(Worman) is the guy who (also) coaches the quarterbacks," said Maciocia. "When the quarterbacks come off (the field) he will be on the phone with them so he can tell them what he saw from the eye in the sky.

"It is so much easier to see things when you are up above than when you are at field level.

"And right now, he has probably got more experience than any other member on our offensive staff as far as trying to identify (defensive) coverage - that is why he is going upstairs."

Maciocia and Worman will be communicating via headset during games.

There appears to be many hands involved in designing this offence and determining how it runs.

From offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek to receivers coach Mike Kelly, there are many voices giving input.

"I am a firm believer that if you're going to have success it is not about one guy. It is about a collective effort and everybody is going to play a role," said Maciocia.

The anti-Maciocia fans in this city will cringe at the news of the head coach getting his hands dirtier this year.

But in a make-or-break year for Maciocia with this organization after missing the playoffs for two straight years, you really can't blame him for wanting to get more control on what is happening with the offence.

BEATING FATHER TIME

Shannon Garrett continues to turn back the hands of time.

At 36, he's the oldest player in training camp. In fact, he's 15 years older than kicker Ryan Elaschuk.

But Garrett continues to be solid at SAM linebacker, stuffing a running back on one drill yesterday while providing blanket coverage on receiver Brock Ralph on a different play.

He's actually dropped 13 pounds from last season, checking in at 192 pounds entering this morning's practice during Day 4 of training camp.

"I did a lot of dieting this off-season - cut down my body fat," he remarked.

"I do feel quicker."

Unless there is a drastic change, Garrett should retain his starting spot in his 14th CFL season.

JONTE EASING IN

Jonte Buhl is being given every chance to return to a starting job in the secondary after missing the final 15 games last year with a broken wrist.

With Duane Coleman (groin) and Lenny Williams (knee) on the injured list, Buhl is getting plenty of reps at halfback.

The third-year Eskimo will never have complete flexibility in the wrist after surgery.

"But it is definitely good enough to play," said the 26-year-old import.

So far, Buhl isn't totally thrilled with his camp. His most noticeable play came when Kamau Peterson schooled him on Day 1 in a one-on-one drill.

"I didn't meet my expectations (to start camp)," said Buhl. "I have done decent on film but what I want to do I haven't done yet."


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