Pinball: Jenkins 'driven guy'

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

As president of a floundering Argonauts team a few years back, Pinball Clemons considered hiring John Jenkins as his head coach.

Then he thought of Don Matthews and Wally Buono and the philosophies those two coaches have used to build championship teams, and he quickly flipped that page.

"You look at the success of coaches in our league, particularly the two winningest coaches in league history that are still active, and they are defensive minded," said Clemons, whose Argos play the role of visitors for the Renegades season finale today.

CASE FOR DEFENCE

"If you can play great defence and special teams, you've got a chance. You just need to make a couple of plays on offence and to get a quarterback who knows he doesn't have to win the game for you."

Such was the formula used by Toronto last season, when the Argos ultimately beat the B.C. Lions in the Grey Cup game, their last visit to Frank Clair Stadium.

"I won the Grey Cup three times as a player, but with one victory as coach I won it 40 times ... once for every player," Clemons said yesterday. "It took my understanding of the game and what it meant to be a team to another level."

Clemons, one of the greatest running backs in CFL history, has known Jenkins since he played in his pass-first system on the 1997 Eric Tillman/Matthews Argos team that went 15-3 and won the Grey Cup.

Pinball brought Jenkins back as offensive co-ordinator when he hired the defensive-minded Gary Etcheverry as head coach, but those moves partly explain why Pinball is on the Toronto sidelines today.

While Clemons adopted the defence first way of thinking in retirement, Jenkins is considered a set-in-his-ways thinker whose primary smarts are at the quarterback position.

"John Jenkins is a workhorse, he believes in reps," Clemons said of the incoming Renegades head coach, before only half jokingly adding, "The player's association needs to be contacted right now. The 41/2-hour workday is a fictitious animal for him.

"He really believes in execution. He's been known to give tests to his guys, to see if they know what they're doing. He's a driven guy. He's got a system he believes in. He's so adamant about landmarks, people being in the right place ..."

Toronto wasn't the right place for Jenkins to be a head coach. The Renegades are hoping Ottawa will be.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos