Marshall knows axe about to fall

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

When it comes to his football future, Greg Marshall knows only one certainty.

"I'll be coaching somewhere," the Renegades defensive co-ordinator said yesterday. "No idea where."

Odds are probably better that the Renegades make the playoffs this season than they are he'll be back in Ottawa, however. And the only way they make the playoffs is if one of the league's top six teams folds next week.

Marshall, who is also the Renegades assistant head coach and assistant director of player personnel, is expected to be included in the purge that follows the introduction of new coach John Jenkins next week. Like most taking over a team, Jenkins will surely form his own staff, and it'd be nothing short of startling if he even bothered to interview one of Joe Paopao's loyal assistants.

The one person most mentioned as a possible replacement for Marshall is (get this) the guy Marshall replaced -- Gary Etcheverry. But while he is a Jenkins crony, Etcheverry is also said to be comfortable and content living in B.C.

A former Rough Riders star who had great success coaching the Sooners and more of the same as an assistant in Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Marshall has never made a secret of his desire to be a CFL head coach. But he also denies he signed in Ottawa last off-season with an eye to succeeding Paopao.

"When I came here that was not part of the equation in my mind at all," he said. "My coming here was the opportunity to work with Joe, and a new challenge, and return to a city I have enjoyed for many years ... to get the possibility to see some old friends and that type of thing. It had nothing to do with looking at the head coach (job) or being the future head coach. There were some opportunities here in other areas as far as helping with some personnel, and helping Joe with the challenge of trying to overcome the events of last off-season that left the cupboard a little bare. Basically, it was starting over. I looked forward to that challenge and I enjoyed some of the things I got to do in the personnel department until some of the changes were made."

A change Marshall wanted to see was the addition of a middle linebacker when Keaton Cromartie suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the year. When it was on the table, Marshall petitioned for a trade to land American Cornelius Anthony, who has spent most of the season hiding on the Stampeders' injured list. Ownership vetoed the deal -- which would have also brought Canadian safety Stephan Fortin to Ottawa -- because it didn't want to part with DB Donnie Ruiz, a non-import insurance policy in the secondary. Fortin is out of football.

"I think we surprised a lot of people early in the year, with the start we got off to," Marshall said, referring to the Renegades' 5-3 record. "If you went back to the beginning of the year, people would have been saying we'd be lucky to win a ball game. We've got six, we hope we end up with seven, which is probably six or seven more than a lot of people would have thought at the beginning of the year.

"The disappointing part to me is the fact that we got off to a good start and we weren't able to build on that, and people ended up catching up to us and passing us by. We had an opportunity and, for numerous reasons, that opportunity slipped by."

Marshall's phone will start ringing once it becomes official he won't be back with the Renegades.

'COACHING SOMEWHERE'

"I'll say this: I'm going to spend this off-season just like I spend every other off-season -- evaluating what the best opportunity is out there for Greg Marshall and his family, then pursue those opportunities," he said. "All I know is I'll be coaching somewhere, and I'll look forward to the next challenge, whatever that is and wherever that may be."


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