New faces in new places

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:11 AM ET

It appears the Edmonton Eskimos are going to have seven new starters on defence when the regular season opens this weekend.

If you count Jason Goss as a new starter at safety, you could argue there are actually eight.

But to be certain, there are seven Edmonton players apparently set to start on defence in Regina on Saturday (5:30 p.m., TSN, CHED) who didn't have a starting role on the Eskimos last year.

The entire defensive line is new: Fred Perry at defensive end, Jim Davis at defensive tackle, Dario Romero at the other tackle position.

Rookie Montez Murphy or Brandon Guillory will start at the other defensive end spot -- and neither started a regular-season game for the Green and Gold last year.

Agustin Barrenechea is the new starting middle linebacker, replacing A.J. Gass.

Jordan Younger and Keith Williams are new in the secondary.

Goss started at halfback last year, but never started a game at safety -- which is his new home.

"It's just a fact of life," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia on the long list of new starters.

"The team needed to get better."

Given the fact this new crew has only played one game together -- the second and final preseason game last week -- chemistry is going to be an issue.

"We are not going to be functioning on all cylinders in Week 1, but as we go along we are going to get better," continued Maciocia. "I think we've got a good feel for one another right now."

The defence needed to be overhauled after a rough five-win 2007 season.

Edmonton gave up the CFL's third-highest yardage total per game last year with 359.

The Esks also gave up an average of 24.6 points per game, third worst in the league.


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