Crandell back in Esks fold

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:56 PM ET

Marcus Crandell is in as offensive co-ordinator.

Steff Kruck has been named receivers coach.

Mark Nelson stays on as linebackers coach.

Chances are pretty good Kelly Campbell has played his last game as an Eskimo.

About the only bit of unfinished business left for new Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed in a hectic week is to name the running backs coach.

About all Reed would say about that situation Friday is that incumbent Terry Eisler is still in the mix for the job.

“I’m going to try to wipe the smile off my face,” said Reed about a very productive week. “I’m very happy with the staff we’ve put together.”

Crandell, a former highly-touted Eskimos quarterback who was unable to show his potential here, last worked as quarterbacks coach with Saskatchewan.

Crandell’s name has been out there as the No. 1 candidate for offensive co-ordinator even before Reed was hired last week and was finalized after a couple of face-to-face meetings the past two days.

“I like the fact that Marcus is a former quarterback that understands the development of quarterbacks, indicative of what he’s done with Darian Durant,” said Reed, Crandell’s Eskimos teammate for three seasons.

“He understands this game, he understands this organization. He has a lot of creativity. He knows how to attack defences based on the experience I’ve had with him (in Saskatchewan in 2009) and I expect we’ll have a very dynamic and versatile offence.”

Crandell will be stepping into a situation where he has veteran quarterback Ricky Ray coming off a season when he threw more interceptions than TD passes. Ray is running an offence that had trouble scoring once it hit the red zone over the past several seasons.

“Everything is going to be a challenge,” said Reed. “This is a new environment we’re trying to create. I know Marcus has all the intangibles to work through any challenges we’re going to face.

“If you stop learning, it’s time to get out of this game. I think Ricky will learn a lot from Marcus and the staff we’ve put together.”

Most recently, Kruck was co-offensive co-ordinator with B.C. and in his five years with the Leos has worked with the team’s receivers.

“He’s a veteran guy who has the ability to work with Marcus and bring some balance to the offence,” said Reed, who listened to Crandell’s input on the hire.

Kruck’s proven experience gave him the nod over Rick Walters, who was a guest coach at 2010 training camp and was among the leading candidates.

Crandell has been assigned the task of developing the Eskimos quarterbacks of the future.

“You’re only as strong as your second quarterback,” said Reed. “We have to make certain that if we go with a younger guy that Marcus is able to develop that guy because we’re not assured that Ricky will be able to play all 18 games. We hope and pray that he will, but we have to be prepared. I’ve always said that the guy starting isn’t the most important. It’s the guy behind him.”

Some of the 2010 red zone woes stemmed from an inability of receivers to hang onto the ball in the end zone and Campbell became the most obvious culprit.

Reed revealed that Campbell, who was heading into the option year of his contract, is free to test the free agent market. Campbell could still end up with the Eskimos, but slim just left town.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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