Marshall's back in town

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

As one might guess, Greg Marshall has had this date circled on his calendar for some time now.

Oh yeah, and he's looking forward to a shot at the Eskimos, too.

"No. 1, I want to see my family," said Marshall, the Renegades defensive coordinator who was snubbed by the Esks when they were picking a new head coach in the off-season. "It'll be the first time in six weeks."

Marshall, who has spent the previous five seasons as defensive coordinator/defensive line coach in Edmonton, will fly to Alberta today, ahead of his new team. When he hooks up with the Renegades tomorrow afternoon, final preparations will be made for a season opener Friday on the grassy grounds of Commonwealth Stadium, where an Ottawa team hasn't won in more than 20 years.

Marshall would like nothing more than to stop that bleeding, but he says his desire to beat the Eskimos is nothing personal.

"That's not part of the deal," he said when asked about any sweet satisfaction that could come with knocking off a team he hoped was going to be his before management decided to go with Danny Maciocia instead.

"The job is to go in and win. Not a lot of teams go in there and do that. If we could start the season off with a win there, it would be a huge lift for our team."

It would seem a defence coached by Marshall would be poised to lead the charge.

No other coordinator in the CFL would be even close to as familiar with the Esks' offence.

"I think both sides feel they have an advantage," said Marshall, a star defensive lineman with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1980-88.

"We practiced against each other in training camp, then every day (during the season) for five years. I'm sure they feel they know me just as I feel I know them. It'll be interesting to see how it works out.

"I have a lot of good memories of Edmonton, and it will be nice to see the familiar faces I used to work with. But once the game starts, I'm sure everybody will be trying to beat each other's brains out."

Even though he practiced with his new team for the first time yesterday, the Renegades will dress linebacker/safety Robert Grant, whom they signed after he had been released by the Esks on the weekend.

GRANT LIKES SYSTEM

"I'm looking forward to playing Coach Marshall's system again, I really like his defence," said Grant, who was the 2003 West Division most outstanding rookie runner-up. "I'm really looking forward to lighting it up Friday."

Grant is the second new addition to the Ottawa defence in the last few days, joining former B.C. Lion Da'Shann Austin, who will start for the Renegades on Friday as a defensive half back.

Receiver Frank Cutolo, the 2003 West Division most outstanding rookie and another former Lion to join the Renegades this week, says Austin was the best cover corner the Lions had.


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