Schultz: Hervey's motivating did little; Bombers have spark

Chris Schultz
9/9/2013 9:31:44 AM
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Drama, drama and more drama.

Week 11 in the CFL had storylines in each game that were easy to understand and enjoyable to watch unfold. Calgary improved to 8-2 and Edmonton regressed to 1-9. And still, the majority of the attention was on Ed Hervey and his critical comments about his team - specifically Simeon Rottier.

Now I do understand the frustration that he feels as a key management individual because his vision and desires have evaporated. And we're only in September. But it was the wrong way to handle it.

If Edmonton had won 42-3, Hervey would have looked like a genius with his confronting and motivating. But it didn't happen. Kris Sweet was caught on camera berating his players after pass protection problem and that didn't work either. Both Hervey and Sweet I have a lot of respect for, but there has to be a better way.

Pro football is a tough business and one that has a level of pressure that not all can handle and in some moments need to stay private. From the players' perspective, especially if you're young, you become so conscious of avoiding mistakes that you hesitate letting go and being aggressive.

Confrontation does work, but confrontation in a public venue is difficult to deal with and accept. Edmonton has become this very interesting psychological study of human emotion under stress and its results. And which way it gravitates is speculation at this point.

Now lost in all the drama with Edmonton is Calgary's 8-2 record - tied for first place and John Hufnagel completing his 100th game as the team's head coach (Congratulations, coach!).

In Hamilton, the story is what's wrong with the B.C. Lions and (don't know) and what is right with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (that I do know).

The man with a plan is Kent Austin and his plan is being seen in a physical form on the football field. Dennis McPhee has slowly but consistently improved the Ticats' defensive line to a point that now they are a group of game changing athletes. Each positional increment has progressed, but the challenge has now changed for Hamilton as the schedule has now changed.

Gone are the Eskimos and Bombers, here are the Stampeders and Riders and all the teams that are polished and winning. It's often said that the personality of a team is reflected in the head coach. Well, if I could describe Kent Austin in one word it would be "steady." Not to high, not too low - just maintaining focus on the goal of winning football. The team is like that too. Just getting a little better each week, game by game and not letting opinion and criticism get you down.

They have a big challenge this week at the 8-2 Stampeders, but win or lose this Ticat team will not panic - just progress.

With Toronto, a very significant 37-30 win in Montreal and a bounce back game for Zack Collaros in so many ways. They did not play well last Tuesday in their disaster of a 20-9 loss and did not play very well in the first half of their 37-30 win. Collaros was 12-of-18 for 100 yards and an interception in that half with one yard rushing. In the second half, there was a different confidence level and a different result - 18-for-25, 236 yards with two touchdowns and 41 yards rushing. When the times were toughest, Collaros responded with his best for some excellent drama.

The Argos are now 6-4 and that's the good news. The bad news is that they travel to Saskatchewan next to play a Rider team coming off a loss in Winnipeg. 

And how about Winnipeg! You have to go back to July 4 to find the last registered win for Bomber football - 19-11 over Montreal. Now I can still say 'this and that' and 'that and this' about what has to improve but why not just enjoy the experience of winning as for one week? The pressure is off!

And a good trade for the Bombers too - Pierce returns to the Lions for a fresh start and with Akeem Foster they get a tall Canadian target with genuine upside. Now the Bombers have Edmonton in back-to-backs and need to sweep the Eskimos. If they do - you never know. That's right, I am saying you still have a chance! 

So with Week 11 over and Week 12 about to begin, I'm certainly looking forward to another new discussion of dramatic stories. Should be very interesting.

Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz


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