Ticats to have fun again

Ron Lancaster (left), returning behind the bench for the Hamilton Tiger Cats after Greg Marshall...

Ron Lancaster (left), returning behind the bench for the Hamilton Tiger Cats after Greg Marshall (right) was fired on Monday, plans to bring the fun back on the field. (Winnipeg Sun File/Iris Chrol)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Ron Lancaster simply smiled and watched.

Calm, cool and composed, the newly anointed interim coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats let his assistants do most of the shouting and instructing at practice as he began his second go-around at the helm of the team yesterday.

With coach Greg Marshall fired Monday and with his beleaguered team at 0-4, Lancaster, 67, plans to keep things simple. Don't worry, be happy seems to be his motto.

"We start out training camp and it was fun to watch and all of a sudden it was kind of gone," said a relaxed-looking Lancaster, who will return to game action Friday when the West Division-leading Calgary Stampeders come to Ivor Wynne Stadium. "The thing we want to do is not beat ourselves.

"The big thing is when they put the ball on the tee, you have to play like you were a kid in the park. Go play. If you worry about mistakes, you're going to make 100 of them."

The team's senior director of football operations prior to Marshall's firing, Lancaster doesn't have much time to prepare for his first game.

With that in mind, Lancaster is maintaining consistency. His co-ordinators -- the oft-criticized Joe Paopao (offence) and Kavis Reed (defence) -- ran practice and the team is not expected to make any major lineup changes for Lancaster's debut.

"I'm not about to tell (the co-ordinators) what to do," Lancaster said. "They both are good at what they do. Everywhere I've been, my co-ordinators have kind of had the final say on everything. They need to have the players' confidence. The worst thing in the world is for me to go over to the co-ordinator and tell him what to do. Then, the players start wondering why is he here."

Lancaster will coach the team for the balance of the season as the team searches for a full-time replacement.

Paopao, ex-Montreal Alouettes coach Charlie Taffe, who resigned from an assistant's post at the University of Maryland this year, and the other Greg Marshall (Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive co-ordinator) are the popular candidates.

In the meantime, the Ticats players seem happy to have a familiar face leading the team.

"Every day (Lancaster) was at practice and seeing what's going on," said multi-purpose threat Corey Holmes, who is expected to play Friday after missing the team's previous game with an ankle injury. "He's family, he was already a part of this. It's not like they're bringing in a guy that was in Ottawa and flying him in."


Photos