Canadian careers kick off with perfect records

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Who says consistency is key to success in the CFL?

There were four head-coaching changes this off-season as half the loop went in a new direction, and all four fresh faces won their debuts in Week 1.

This is a league basically known for its revolving door of players, but head coaches are usually in place for long periods and recycled in different markets.

Last year, there were only two new head coaches, but every team changed its offensive co-ordinator. This year, five teams have different offensive co-ordinators, while five of the defensive co-ordinators are new to their jobs.

The only team to keep its head man and both co-ordinators in place was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who lost their opener to Rich Stubler and his debut as head man with the Toronto Argonauts.

The Montreal Alouettes and Marc Trestman, who critics said would struggle because he is new to the Canadian rules, easily beat up the rebuilt Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the season-opener.

Calgary Stampeders' new head man John Hufnagel debuted his group to success in beating the B.C. Lions.

And Ken Miller managed to win his debut with the defending Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders, as they manhandled the visiting Edmonton Eskimos.

It's interesting to note both Stubler and Miller were given the celebratory Gatorade bath after the victories, but that must be because the players knew neither coach would get upset. Stubler was the defensive co-ordinator with the Argos for several years, and Miller was Saskatchewan's offensive co-ordinator last year, while Hufnagel and Trestman are still getting to know their players.

Opening drive

The high-profile newcomers had mixed results in the opening weekend. Argos WR David Boston had the worst time, unable to deal with a stress fracture in his foot that will keep him out 10-to-12 weeks. The Argos got a much better result from former New England Patriots WR Bethel Johnson, who had a 47-yard bomb from QB Kerry Joseph called back on his own procedure penalty. Remember the name of Roughriders WR Adarius Bowman. The newcomer made a great on-the-fly adjustment to haul in QB Marcus Crandell's pass-and-run TD of 73 yards. In Calgary, LB Saleem Rasheed's debut didn't go well. The former San Francisco 49er left after less than 10 minutes of action with a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out a few weeks. Signing recognizable NFL rejects is always a mixed bag, and this season is no different.

Endzone toss

Several clubs made roster moves yesterday after the Week 1 games. With C Dominic Picard on the shelf, the Blue Bombers grabbed hometown OL Darryl Conrad and added him to their practice roster. Conrad grew up in Winnipeg and went to the University of Manitoba, winning a Vanier Cup last November. The Eskimos added former Stampeders LB Trey Young to their practice roster. The timing of that is interesting considering the Esks host the Stamps this week and will probably look for some insight into the new defence in Calgary. The B.C. Lions picked up former Roughriders LB T.J. Stancil to add some depth to their defence, while the Grey Cup champs officially added first-round draft pick Keith Shologan. These moves come a day after the Stamps signed Canadian TE Teyo Johnson and shored up their defensive line by adding import DEs Jonal Saint-Dic and Charleston Hughes.

Extra points

Despite losing 28-18 to the Stamps, Lions head coach Wally Buono is still 11-3-1 against his former club since leaving before the 2003 season. Buono, who is now the longest-serving current head coach in the CFL, showed his age during the pre-game news conference when he referred to his daughter Christie and new Lions fullback Rolly Lumbala as being Facebook friends. Buono said, "They can reach out and touch each other," which drew huge laughs from those gathered who know the term is poke ... Riders DL Scott Schultz is in mid-season form, especially when it comes to interviews. When asked what it's like being recognized around Regina despite losing 40 lb. in the off-season, Schultz said: "Now that I've lost a little weight, people mistake me more for coach (Paul) LaPolice, which is a compliment for me, but I think it's an insult to him." ... Best off-season free-agent signing: TSN adding analyst Duane Forde. After one game, colour us impressed by the new CFL colourman ... How good are things going in Saskatchewan? The fan base topped 22,000 season tickets, up about 4,500 over last year's Grey Cup year ... Mike Vanderjagt's return to the CFL didn't start well, as the Argos kicker missed his first three field-goal attempts, but his punting was strong.

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QUOTABLE

What did you say?

"He's a second-string (QB). I don't think he's a starter.

Esks DL Fred Perry about RidersQB Marcus Crandell"

GO FIGURE

Playin' the numbers game

14

Defensive tackles by Ticats DB Markeith Knowlton, two short of former Rider Reggie Hunt's single-game record.

THREE STARS

Week's top performers

1. Als WR Kerry Watkins -- Six catches for 102 yards and two TDs in pounding of Ticats.

2. Stampeders RB Joffrey Reynolds -- Piled up 196 all-purpose yards after adding kickoff returns to his duties.

3. Argos LB Mike O'Shea -- Passed Alondra Johnson for second in all-time defensive tackles.

CRYSTAL BALL

Our predictions for the week ahead

Hamilton at Toronto --The Ticats may be worse than last year. Argos by 12.

Calgary at Edmonton --Make it a 2-0 start for the first time since 2000. Stamps by 7.

Winnipeg at Montreal --Kevin Glenn gets back on track. Blue Bombers by 6.

Saskatchewan at B.C. --Lions rebound. B.C. by 3.

Record (last week; overall): 2-2; 2-2.


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