Old Marshall in town

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

The next time Greg Marshall patrols the sidelines at Frank Clair Stadium will simply have to be better than the last time he did.

The last time he did was the worst.

"It was a long, long day .... we got our butts kicked pretty good," Marshall said yesterday of an early July, 44-15 beating Ottawa gave his Edmonton Eskimos. "Yeah, there's a lot of potential with the team here. That was one of the longest days I've had on the sidelines in my career."

Ah, yes, that game improved the Renegades' record to 3-0 -- and also happened to be their only truly good one for a long, long time, as they won only two of their remaining 15 after it. Hence, Marshall will be on the Frank Clair Stadium sidelines in June, now working for the home side as the new defensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach.

BIG JOB AHEAD

He'll also help coach and GM Joe Paopao and director of player personnel Chris McRobbie with some "administrative" duties, including the Canadian College draft. But mainly, Marshall will be responsible for turning around a unit that stumbled and bumbled its way to dead last in the league in 15-of-25 categories, and second last in seven others.

"It's just the process, part of how things turned out," Paopao, who was teammates with Marshall when both were Rough Riders in 1987, said of the fact the franchise has now had four defensive co-ordinators as it enters its fourth season. "I can't worry about last year. It's in the books. This year is about moving forward."

Marshall, whose coaching career was a success from the outset when he ran the semi-pro Bootleggers and junior Sooners, went on to prove himself as one of the CFL's top defensive coaches during six years in Saskatchewan and five in Edmonton. But his hiring by the Renegades is more than just a smart, logistical move. It also brings back to Ottawa one of the best defensive performers this city has ever been able to call its own.

Marshall, a Rough Rider lineman from 1980 until his retirement during training camp in 1988, was a four-time league all-star and the CFL's defensive player of the year in 1983.

"He was an outstanding player," said Jeff Avery, the Renegades radio colour commentator and a teammate of Marshall's for three seasons (1980-83) with the Riders. "He was very intelligent, an excellent technician at his position. He had good strength and reasonable size, but he had the technique to get free and make plays.

"In my latter years, when I spent a lot of time standing on the sideline, I made sure I stood with Greg when the offence was on the field. He was very knowledgeable ... he knew what we were and weren't doing right. I always thought he'd be a great coach."

CHIP SHOTS: K Sandro Sciortino is expected to be at camp and competing for his old job after missing the final five games of 2004 while fighting cancer. "I talked to him a few weeks ago and he sounded good," said Paopao. "The (cancer) is in remission, he's working out ... and going for checkups every two or three months. You hope things stay their course, and we look forward to seeing him at training camp. We'll bring in other kickers, too." ... The Renegades will replace special teams coach Dave Easley, who has joined Jim Daley's staff in Winnipeg. The opening is expected to make a full-time assistant of Jim Clark, who worked with Ottawa's defence last year. Clark, a former Gee-Gees coach and a one-time Riders assistant, has spent more than 35 years in the business ... Paopao will introduce his entire staff at a press conference today.


Videos

Photos