Rider revolution

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

So, what happens now in Regina?

Saskatchewan GM Roy Shivers laid his cards on the table earlier this season when he said anything less than a 12-6 record would be unacceptable this year.

Well, the Riders produced just nine wins in the sixth year of the Shivers regime and are already finished for 2005.

Will the Rider board of directors release Shivers and/or coach Danny Barrett?

Firing Shivers comes with a risk because he does know how to do one thing: find American talent.

But after the brutal handling of the Trevis Smith case, sending Shivers out of town is justifiable.

Firing Barrett and offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille looks good on the surface, but isn't justifiable.

The Riders were one field goal away from advancing to the Grey Cup last year - and then Barrett and Bellefeuille were practically handcuffed when Shivers failed to sign QB Henry Burris in the off-season.

In the final six regular-season games last year, the Riders averaged 36 points with Burris calling the shots.

In the final four games this year, the Green and White barely put an average of 16 points on the board with Marcus Crandell and Nealon Greene at the controls.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Football reporters live for stories like this.

The University of Houston Cougars delivered an awful beating to SMU in 1989, winning 95-21. Not surprisingly, SMU head coach Forrest Gregg was livid after the game, refusing to shake hands with the opposing head coach.

But he was impressed by the work of Cougar offensive co-ordinator John Jenkins.

After storming off the field, Gregg made a promise: "I said, if this s.o.b. (Jenkins) ever becomes available, I'm gonna hire him."

Well, 16 years later he has followed through on that promise. Gregg is the general manager with the Ottawa Renegades - and he has hired Jenkins to be his head coach.

AMAZING NUMBERS

The CFL's TV ratings on TSN jumped an astounding 27% this year, with the broadcasts averaging 395,000 viewers, an all-time record. In this new world of seemingly countless satellite digital channels and the continuing explosion of entertainment on the Internet, surging TV numbers like this are almost unheard of.

SHORT YARDAGE: Lonie Glieberman and his crew in Ottawa never cease to amaze.

Glieberman is considering moving training camp to the U.S. next year at Michigan Tech's campus. With a brutal average attendance mark of 18,490 fans this year in Ottawa, moving training camp outside the capital region would be incredibly stupid.

Taking training camp out of the sight of fans and the local media would do anything but help build awareness and crowd totals.

To put the foolish idea in perspective, the Calgary Stampeders would never consider moving camp to Montana State University in Bozeman. Floating that idea in public would bring criticism and laughter.

LATE HITS: Hamilton head coach Greg Marshall admitted last week his club was one win away from not dealing Troy Davis and Dan Comiskey to Edmonton. Marshall said if the Cats had defeated Calgary on Sept. 17, the deal wouldn't have been made ... On a positive note for the Tabbies, hulking offensive tackle Travis Claridge - who dominated Eskimo DE Joe Montford on Sept. 30 at Ivor Wynne Stadium - is committed to coming back next year. Claridge came north this fall after playing for several years in the NFL, but quickly injured himself in Hamilton.

EXTRA POINTS: A rumour making the rounds: Matt Dunigan is set to leave TSN to return to coaching with Jenkins in Ottawa.

HIT & MISS

HIT

Quarterback Anthony Calvillo throws three touchdowns to lead Montreal to the East final.

MISS

Not such a good day for Riders QB Marcus Crandell, who threw three interceptions.

HIT

Good move by Riders coach Danny Barrett to leave Trevis Smith off the roster, avoiding more bad press.

NUMBERS GAME

18 - Number of coaches officially released last week by Hamilton, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

30 - Number of losses in that stretch by Daley, who was fired in Winnipeg last week.

56 - Number of wins as a CFL head coach by Jim Daley in five years between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"He was the most remarkable and genuine and nicest man i've ever seen in a coaching position."

- DL Doug Brown on fired Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley.

"I'm the T.O. of the CFL. I've got three words for you: respect my cockiness."

- Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis tries to explain his side of the story.

"If he doesn't throw a touchdown, it's on us."

- Eskimos receiver Ed Hervey responds to criticism of Ricky Ray.

GAME OF THE WEEK

ESKIMOS @ B.C. LIONS

WESTERN FINAL: EDMONTON @ B.C. LIONS, SUNDAY, 4 P.M., CBC

Can the B.C. Lions stop the bleeding after losing six of their final seven regular-season games? If the Lions lose at home, Wally Buono's coaching resume will forever have a stain on it. Starting the season 11-0 and finishing 1-7 would not be forgotten.


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