July 12, 2012
Eskimos, Bombers coaches focus on Friday
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - It’s not often you hear a prayer from a head coach at the press conference prior to a game.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference … most important the wisdom to know the difference.”
Kavis Reed was answering the question on behalf of both he and Paul LaPolice about the same sort of space they share going into tonight’s game between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
It’s the kind of game where the coaches would prefer to be horse trainers and simply put the blinders on and get them in the gate.
It’s not a time that you want them looking around.
“We can’t look ahead. If we look ahead, we’re going to get left behind,” said Reed.
“We need to go out and prove that what we did last Sunday is not who we are.
“We can’t read the press clippings that this is a desperate team. We can’t ready the press clippings that things are falling apart, that ships are falling out of the skies.”
The Bombers have started the season at 0-2. Lose this one and they are 0-3, with a fourth consecutive game on the road to open the season five days away in Toronto.
The Eskimos, if they lose, go 1-2 with the next two on the road, one in B.C. the and the other in Winnipeg.
One coach has a GM who did next to nothing to improve his football team in the off-season. The other’s GM traded away Ricky Ray.
“We do not deal in desperation. That’s one thing I’ve been very diligent about this week in terms of preparation. This is not a desperation football game. We’re not going to put that label on this game,” said Reed.
Reed would love to have a bounce-back game similar to the one last year, following the game in which his team only managed to score one point.
That was a 36-1 loss to B.C. The Eskimos followed it with a 35-7 Labour Day win over the Stampeders in Calgary.
“Everything is unique when it comes to time and space, but there are some parallels. This football team did not play very well on Sunday — especially in two phases of the game,” he said.
“But the biggest thing about our football team, the most important thing coming off a bad game, is the character of the players the next day.
“To a man, they all came in when they had a partial day off. They all came in early and watched the film. We had three offensive linemen in at three o’clock in the morning watching the film, wanting to know what they did wrong.
“Obviously they know that they did not have a very good football game, they didn’t do what they needed us to do to help us win. So that is the similarity in terms of how they handle a disappointing performance.”
The biggest mistake, Reed said, would be to look at Winnipeg as an 0-2 football team.
“They’re not an 0-2 team. They’re well coached. They play hard from start to finish. They’ve run into two very good football teams, both playing at home, in British Columbia and Montreal. Those are very tough places to play. When I watch them on film, in all three phases of the game, they are not an 0-2 football team.”
Having four games on the road to start the season was with the idea that the the Blue Bombers would be coming home to open a brand-new stadium against the Eskimos. But the way it worked out it was all a waste and they won’t move into the new stadium until next year.
“The biggest challenge is that we just don’t play in front of our home crowd,” said LaPolice.
The Bombers didn’t get a break from the league with the schedule. Bouncing from Vancouver to Montreal to Edmonton to Toronto gave them no opportunity to do what the Alouettes did a few years back when there was stadium construction, by locating in Red Deer and playing games in Calgary and Edmonton, or like Calgary is doing during the Stampede this year, parking in Kingston and playing games in Toronto and Montreal.
“If we had two games in the West and two games in the East, we would have stayed.”
He could have offered the same prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change …”
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