WINNIPEG -- A closed-door special film session before the East Division semifinal gave the Edmonton Eskimos a little boost for their playoff run.
For the first time, details are now starting to spill out about what the Edmonton organization is doing to keep its players focused and motivated in the search for the 2008 Grey Cup.
To start this past week, the coaching staff showed the players a video of past Eskimo glory teams.
The 10-minute film session came as a surprise and fired up the troops.
"The coach did a wonderful job inspiring us, showing us some of the past Eskimo tradition," said Esks defensive end Brandon Guillory. "That video played a big role."
The Eskimos defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 29-21 yesterday in the East Division semifinal playoff game, advancing to the divisional final in Montreal on Saturday.
Coming into yesterday's tilt in Winnipeg, much was made of the young talent in the Eskimo dressing room.
Edmonton dressed 11 rookies in the victory against Winnipeg.
"Damn near saw some guys start crying when we watched that video," added Guillory.
QUICK HIT ...
Edmonton kicker Noel Prefontaine and head coach Danny Maciocia are thankful a third-quarter missed field goal didn't come back to bite the club in the behind yesterday.
Prefontaine hit the goal post in the south end zone on a 34-yard attempt, keeping the score 29-15 for the visitors.
With Winnipeg having two chances in the final two minutes to drive the ball for a potential tying score, that missed kick loomed large.
"It is crazy, the posts here are really skinny," said Prefontaine.
"The wind really affects them. The only thing that was really on my mind is that point was going to come back and haunt me."
EXTRA POINT ...
There is nothing wrong with Mike Maurer's hands.
The Eskimos special teams starter came off the bench in the third quarter to replace injured fullback Mathieu Bertrand and caught his first pass in more than one calendar year to set up AJ Harris's touchdown on the next play.
"This is the reason I came back," said Maurer after the victory.
Maurer came out of retirement this fall to give the club depth on special teams and make a push for the Grey Cup.
Edmonton is now one win away from getting a spot in the CFL championship game.
"It was too good of an opportunity to pass up," continued Maurer.
"I just want to help out the team win wherever I can."
FINISH LINES ...
Defensive back Lenny Williams stepped up yesterday, stripping the football from Joe Smith for a key fumble and adding six tackles (three on defence and three on special teams). It marked his first game with snow on the ground. "It is not something that I'd like to play in again," said Williams on the cold weather (minus-six at kickoff). "It was hard to breathe."
PARTING SHOTS ...
In his first every playoff game in the CFL, Guillory had two sacks and five tackles.