A Back From Vacation Top 10 Tuesday:

Well it’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the world of sports. In no particular order here’s my top 10 thoughts from the week that was!

10 – For those of you who have tuned into the View From The Sidelines podcast I thank-you. If you haven’t I encourage you to check it out. Michael Ball, Mike McCullough and the guests from across the CFL have an amazing perspective and insight and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. (You can check out the archive here) Additionally, make sure you catch Tuned In and Tuned Out some pretty neat stuff there. Like my Tuned-In from two weeks ago: Ottawa REDBLACKS Special Teams Coach Don Yanowsky! Prior to the Rider game the formations and personnel he was using was very innovative. Turn to last week’s game and his unit scored a touchdown with an on-side punt for just the third time in league history! Well coached unit that is creating some excitement in the Nation’s Capital definitely tuned-in!

9 – Is Taj Smith done as a Saskatchewan Roughrider? That is the question that I have been asked more than a dozen times and I’ve only been back from vacation for a day. Smith will sit out this week’s game against Winnipeg for a violation of his release on assault charges from last year. The team’s code of conduct is what makes the situation off the field affect his status with the team. I have no idea what will happen but do know that it is a major blow to the team.

8 – More Riders and hands up if you were worried when Darian Durant hyper-extended his knee Saturday in Ottawa. Tino Sunseri came in and continues to struggle. Granted he wasn’t working with a full offensive package but also keep in mind that only one quarterback started all 18 games for their team in the CFL last year (Edmonton’s Mike Reilly). The question that I have is that the Ottawa defender clearly hit the Rider Quarterback below the knees an obvious roughing the passer call where there apparently is no grey area, so why was there no call?

7 – Durant was also smacked in the head in the same game with no call. I have never bought into the argument that Darian doesn’t get calls because he is so tough but if that were Ricky Ray I’m betting on a orange flag on the turf.

6 – More CFL and how the mighty has fallen! For anyone that ever doubted the work done in Montreal by Marc Trestman all you need to do is see what has happened since he has left. Dan Hawkins didn’t last until Labour Day, current coach Tom Higgins likely won’t either. Don Matthews, and Jeff Garcia have been brought in to consult and try to get the train back on the track after a sputtering start. Clouding things more is the word that Garcia may even play despite being 44 and off of the field since 2009. Yikes!

5 – The Garcia situation is a head scratcher though. Obviously the succession plan for Anthony Calvillo didn’t pan out. So isn’t delaying that progression going to set the process back even more? I’m just saying.

4 – Last one on the CFL and Umpire Ben Major is my hero! If you didn’t see it, on Friday night he was clipped in the face with a cleat and had to undergo 11 stitches before returning to the game in the second half. Without the officials there would be no game but this is above and beyond, tough as nails!

3 – To baseball and who goes first Alex Anthopolis or Jose Bautista? The Blue Jays star was critical of his General Manager and the team’s lack of movement at the trade deadline. Jose has a point but airing in public is wrong. I would have been infuriated if I was Anthopolis or one of the team’s owners. When the going has got tough the last couple of seasons Jose has got going in September not even being with the team as he was nursing an “injury” that he would not play through. To me banking on him to be the cornerstone of your team is misguided.
2 – To junior football and the Saskatoon Hilltops took to the field for the first time yesterday with a pair of workouts. The team is much younger but more athletic than in years past. However, I have faith in the coaching staff and the leadership that was on display in the opening workouts I think will serve this team well. Well enough to surprise some detractors.
1 – One last one on Junior Football and it appears that I will be lonely no more! Word out of Winnipeg is that the Rifles will become the second team in the league (behind the Hilltops) to have a radio crew! Troy Westwood (Yes former Blue Bomber kicker Troy Westwood) will take to the broadcast booth to provide colour on radio broadcasts for the Rifles in the Manitoba Capital. An injection of more mainstream media to the PFC is perfect in promoting the league especially with the influx of PFC players now in the CFL! Now, here’s hoping that the league can provide adequate media facilities and communications support to further the league’s exposure and make these boys jobs a little easier!

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