Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed looks to limit distractions

He may have felt a little naked at his first practice as offensive co-ordinator, but Eskimos head...

He may have felt a little naked at his first practice as offensive co-ordinator, but Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed wasted little time letting players know when he was unsatisfied with their performance. (Perry Mah, QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

The new offensive co-ordinator of the Edmonton Eskimos was not actually out wandering around Commonwealth Stadium in his birthday suit Monday.

It just felt that way.

“It felt different. It did,” said the overloaded with duties head coach Kavis Reed of his first practice working in the role formerly held by Marcus Crandell.

“I told (special teams co-ordinator) Marcello Simmons out there that ‘I feel a bit naked right now.’ ”

It didn’t take long for the ring master of the Tillman & Rhodes Circus which should consider borrowing the show tents from the Cavalia extravaganza playing at the City Centre Airport, to get involved in the proceedings in his additional role.

About 20 minutes in, OC Reed blew a gasket out there.

“On offence my loud mouth is probably more pronounced,” said Reed, who added he’s noticed offensive coaches tend to be much less vocal, because maybe they think offensive players are much more sensitive or something.

Reed was all over a receiver, he said, “for not running a route at the depth necessary. He didn’t have the separation necessary.”

It was a strange day at practice Monday in a lot of ways as the team, which had become the first in 63 years of Eskimo history to lose all five games in September, returned to work.

First they returned to find their offensive co-ordinator Crandell reduced to a play relay messenger on the headset to a new batting order of quarterbacks and running backs and Twitter being at the centre of two storylines in the dressing room.

First there was the tweet by former teammate Aaron Fiaconni:

“I owe so much to the Esks franchise but this awful ‘management’ of players has killed this team. Zero confidence! Revolving door! JOKE!”

The tweet and additional published comments about GM Eric Tillman trading away “a cornerstone of your franchise” and the shuffling of the deck with a different quarterback every week, bringing a new running back who isn’t playing, different offensive line combinations, etc. sounded like a retired player stepping out to speak for players who couldn’t.

“I have no comment on that. He can say what he wants, he’s not playing,” said centre Kyle Koch.

It’s tough enough being an Eskimo, on a five-game losing streak with three of them to Calgary, with all the additional distractions.

“It’s part of being a pro. You just have to put all the stuff away and go out and play,” he added.

“You just try to stay out of it,” said receiver Fred Stamps.

“You can only do what you can do. We can’t let it get to us. We don’t get paid to worry about what they are doing up in the offices.”

The other Twitter scenario was the leaked details of Reed taking over as offensive co-ordinator from Crandell, posted by TSN an hour before Sunday’s presser, and the leaked news that J.C. Sherritt wouldn’t play against Hamilton, again posted by TSN Monday with fingers being pointed at Tillman in both cases. (Tillman, who came to the Eskimos with a reputation for leaking information, has a clause in his contract to prevent that. He admits talking to TSN about both situations but denies leaking the specific information.)

“I hate Twitter,” said Reed.

Reed made it very clear he was very irritated by what he described as certain tweets coming out of the East.

“I don’t like playing media mind games. I want everybody’s focus on the football team.”

He said he named Kerry Joseph No. 1, Matt Nichols No. 2 and Steven Jyles No. 3 at quarterback and Hugh Charles as No. 1 at running back for the rest of the season so everybody could just focus going forward and eliminate all speculation from game to game.

“We’ve had three quarterbacks in the last four games. We need stability to ride through to the end of the season.”

He was also asked to be more specific about who exactly would be calling the plays against Hamilton.

He said the game plan was going to be “100%” Kavis Reed and elaborated on Sunday’s statement that Crandell would “mechanically” call the plays, meaning Crandell would pass them on through to Joseph but indicated the head coach would be essentially calling them.

Asked by your correspondent if he’d get creative and call plays such as the Bomberouski, Reed said he’d run “The Annexation of Peurto Rico from Little Giants.” But then he got serious.

“As a defensive co-ordinator I believe that calling plays is a science and an art. The science is managing the clock. The art is being a play ahead or two plays ahead.”

He said he’d keep Crandell a play or two ahead in terms of having a play in waiting if they made the first down and a play in waiting if they didn’t.

Nothing could go wrong there.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos