Esks’ safety experiment continues

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

The phrase: 'Back to the ol' drawing board,' doesn't exactly pertain to the Edmonton Eskimos.

That would infer that the coaching staff actually set the chalk down for a few minutes in the first place.

But with the way their secondary was shaping up over the preseason -- and reshaping, despite kicking off their regular-season schedule on Sunday -- the experiment at free safety is still ongoing.

"Experimenting? We're in the lab now," head coach Kavis Reed said, grinning. "Just kidding, no. I'm laughing at it so I don't cry.

"It's a process for us."

One that has seen the team's top defender, T.J. Hill, spend the entire preseason at safety before moving back to his regular spot at strong-side linebacker this week.

"We realize that T.J. is our very best sam and that's a more critical position for us right now than having him at free safety," said Reed, who is looking to go back to a non-import at safety. "We really feel that Donovan Alexander has both the football IQ and the athleticism to play at free safety, so that's the way we're going to go."

Besides Alexander, the Eskimos have also repped in at the safety spot defensive halfback Chris Thompson -- who was second in the league in interceptions last season -- and fellow import Brian Bonner.

"By the end of the day, it's going to be solidified. We can't keep experimenting throughout the course of the practice week so by the end of the day we'll have it solidified," Reed said.

Day-to-day changes are hardly unexpected when it comes to an overhauled roster with plenty of new faces to go along with a new coaching staff.

"There is (a lot of tweaking) even with a whole veteran group," said defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler. "You've got to tweak it every day, you've got to find out what somebody else can do every day."


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