Ronnie's rules of order

Ron Lancaster (left) is back coaching the Hamilton Tiger Cats after Greg Marshall (right) was fired...

Ron Lancaster (left) is back coaching the Hamilton Tiger Cats after Greg Marshall (right) was fired on Monday. Lancaster will coach his first game back tonight against the Calgary Stampeders. (Winnipeg Sun File/Iris Chrol)

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

HAMILTON -- "Be on time, pay attention and play like hell."

-- Interim head coach Ron Lancaster's first message to his Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

---

The Little General has added a little military discipline to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The team's new interim head coach, this week replacing fired boss Greg Marshall, has scratched out a laundry list of things needing fixing. Topping the chart is an attitude adjustment.

"You do hear negativity, naturally when you're 0-4, especially when there was such an anticipation and eagerness to start the season," said Lancaster, a two-time Grey Cup champion as coach of Edmonton (1993) and Hamilton (1999).

"Everybody thought we were really going to do something and the opportunity is there but we have to dig ourselves out of a hole. Morale goes down and the bad part about that is, even when you're winning, on the bench you get the feeling, 'What are we going to do now to lose?' "

After going 5-13 last season, the Ticats replenished their roster in the off-season with quarterback Jason Maas, running backs Corey Holmes and Josh Ranek, along with receiver Terry Vaughn.

But after sputtering out of the gate in 2006, including a 23-22 loss in Calgary, Marshall was fired and now everyone is expecting Lancaster to provide some answers and some wins.

The loss in Calgary in Week 3 was particularly painful, with the Stampeders marching down the field in the final 13 seconds to set up a winning field goal on the final play.

"Our whole season has been like that," said Lancaster, 67, who had been v.p. of football operations the last two seasons.

"Whether on offence, defence or special teams, we've had the opportunity to step up and make the big plays but we haven't done it.

"We think there's enough talent here to do that but we have to see it. We can talk about it, the fans can talk about it and the players can talk about it but until they actually do it it's all 'potential' and I'm not too big on that word.

"It means you could be great but it also means just good enough to get beat. Until we step forward and make those big plays we'll have problems."

Lancaster said he will let the coaching staff, already in place under Marshall, continue to do its job while he will beat the drums over larger ideals like enthusiasm, professionalism and promptness.

"Then let's make some plays ourselves to make it tough on that other team," Lancaster said.

Veteran safety Rob Hitchcock, one of only a handful of players still on the roster when Lancaster turned over the coaching reins three years ago, said the interim coach's impressive resume adds instant credibility to the post.

"He brings respect because he's the fourth-winningest coach in league history, proved himself as a player for 20 years and as a coach for 17," Hitchcock said.

"He knows the game and the players understand that. When you have a winning attitude like coach Lancaster, he brings a lot to the table. A lot of the new players who don't know him, know him now in just three days."


Videos

Photos