If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

Ricky Ray and the Eskimos offence are major winners today without playing a game.

With Richie Hall becoming Edmonton's new head coach, Ray and company won't have to see the defensive mastermind on the Riders sidelines.

The former defensive co-ordinator in Saskatchewan, Hall caused major problems for Ray the last two seasons.

In fact, the Esks have managed just two wins in seven regular season games since the start of 2007 against the Riders - being outscored 248-145.

"We had a tough time against him," said Ray, within an hour of Hall being announced the new Edmonton bench boss yesterday.

"Year in and year out, they have had one of the best defences."

In three regular-season games against the Riders this year, Ray failed to pass for more than 249 yards in a contest.

He threw four picks and just one major over the three tilts.

"I am very sick of playing against his defence," added Edmonton receiver Kamau Peterson.

"I thought (his hiring yesterday) was fantastic. It made my day."

Edmonton defensive end Fred Perry - who has a history with Hall when they were together in Regina earlier this decade - went one step further.

"This is a great feeling," said Perry on being reunited with Hall.

"That made my Christmas a whole lot better. It is an early Christmas present for me."

FINISH LINES: EDMONTON GENERAL MANAGER DANNY MACIOCIA OFFERED THIS ASSESSMENT OF HIS NEW HEAD COACH: "WHEN YOU LOOK UP THE WORD CLASS (IN THE DICTIONARY) - (HALL'S) PICTURE IS BESIDE IT."


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