(From Vancouver Province)
It’s always been a good rule of thumb that if a point is still under discussion two days after the initial event it can be considered controversial. Mike Benevides was being asked to explain a few things about his first game as a CFL coach Wednesday because one slow-poke scribe had just returned to Kamloops for more regularly-scheduled training camp wind and water torture.
Nonetheless, there were a couple of plays in the pre-season win over Saskatchewan that might provide a smallish window into how the Lions might operate with a new man in charge, which may prove to be a source of angst for opponents and keep things interesting for Lions watchers this year.
Many things stood out Wednesday. A pass by Paul McCallum off a punt was one. Mike Reilly running on third-and-10 was interesting too, though perhaps more a result of a pocket breakdown.
It also would seem, judging by comments from Riders coach Corey Chamblin and others, that there was not universal agreement to the decision by Benevides to reinsert his first-stringers to score a late touchdown with a 27-point lead. That led to some suggestions the Lions were running up the score, which were quickly slapped down, as might be expected.
Benevides: “I guarantee that was not nor never will be the mindset. In the preseason you want as many situations and as many plays as you can, and I’ll make sure [Chamblin] understands that.” To that point in the game, Benevides explained, the Lions had not been able to run their short-yardage unit, and wanted to get them on tape.
And here all we really wanted to know was whether it was OK by the coach if some of his players appeared to be tweeting during the game, as appeared to be the case Wednesday. But the conversation went in another direction.
As for McCallum’s throw, well, teams are hereby forwarned, even if the Lions blew the play because J.R. LaRose was flagged for not appearing on the field inside the numbers and was called for illegal substitution.
“It’s quite indicative,” Benevides said when asked if the play was representative of his planned approach. “Anyone who has played against Paul McCallum knows he’s a threat. It wasn’t a plan but it was occurred and now its on tape.” Three days past the first pre-season game no less, there’s already interest to see how the next game plays out.