Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Preparing for the Grey Cup

                                                John Hufnagel and Scott Milanovich
From coast to coast this coming weekend, Canadians will celebrate a great tradition for the 100th time, the awarding of the Grey Cup. The event is being celebrated all week long in Toronto, as a culmination of the year-long festivities. The Cup visited Belleville in late October. There are Canadian Football League stamps and CFL loonies in your pockets.


On Wednesday morning, the coaches from the opposing teams sat side by side answering questions from the media about all aspects of the game. John Hufnagel is also the General Manager of the Calgary Stampeders. Scott Milanovich is the rookie coach of the Argonauts.


Hufnagel indicated that he was not a “raw raw” kind of coach. He said that he might take fifteen minutes in the morning on game day to outline their plans. At half time, he usually points out that to win games the team must “play great football for thirty more minutes”.


Milanovich indicated that there were several major changes that took place in personnel over the year, starting with a new quarterback at the helm. “We knew there would be adjustments, but guys bought into the plan from the very beginning”.


Hufnagel indicated his concerns about the Argo offence: “Chad Owens is the player that he is”. Owens tore up the league on offence, as well as in his position as kick returner. The Calgary coach laughed when asked about seeing Ricky Ray traded to the Argos before the season began. “I had seen enough of him wearing the green and gold uniform (of the Edmonton Eskimos). I was pleased to see the announcement of his trade when it took place.”


Both Hufnagel and Milanovich starred as college quarterbacks in the United States. Both had brief careers in the NFL before moving north to the CFL. Milanovich joked that he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one day before his contract was to be guaranteed! Hufnagel answered a question by stating that it was not surprising that quarterbacks become coaches. “But,” he cautioned, “we must never neglect the running game”. 

                                                               Jon Cornish
Hufnagel has Jon Cornish in his backfield, to his good fortune. Cornish is a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, and attended university in Kansas. He led the league in rushing, and is the West’s nominee as the top Canadian player in the CFL.


                                                                   Marquay McDaniel
At the Calgary team luncheon, I had a chance to chat with Marquay McDaniel. He is in his fourth year in the CFL “Right now,” he told me, “I am soaking in all of the Grey Cup festivities. As the week goes on, we will concentrate on the game. Two of my best friends in the game are Arlin Bruce III and Maurice Mann. Now Arlin got his ring last year, and “Mo” Mann wants one this year. But he plays for the Argos! So we will see who gets the ring!” McDaniel had an outstanding game in the West final, pulling in three passes for 104 yards, and a touchdown.


Always a great game! And Justin Bieber at half time! Don’t touch that dial, Marsha!


James Hurst

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