You’d think Larry Smith would know better. He’s been around the CFL since the 1970s, after all. He was a player and a commissioner and has, for years, served as president of the Montreal Alouettes. And yet, despite all his experience and observations, Smith is hiring a head coach with no CFL experience.
Strangely, he’s decided against Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall — who’s been around the CFL for almost as long as Smith, and was generally perceived as Jim Popp’s likely successor in Montreal — and has instead chosen Marc Trestman for the position.
Trestman has coached in U.S. college football and in the NFL — he was once the Oakland Raiders’ offensive co-ordinator — but he hasn’t enjoyed excessive success. Worse, he has no CFL background, unless you’d like to count a stint as a guest instructor at the Als’ training camp.
What’s Smith thinking? Canadian football is drastically different than U.S. football. It takes time to learn the CFL and it takes even longer to master it. By hiring Trestman, the Als immediately become long-shots to make the playoffs next season. Yes, they will even finish behind the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (clip and save).
•Disgraced pitcher Roger Clemens is preparing to rip his accusers. He’ll deny he knowingly used steroids and might launch lawsuits. Could get ugly … Regular readers of this column will recall Jose Canseco telling me a couple years ago that he was writing his second book and, in it, would expose a certain, high-profile ex-Blue Jays teammate as a steroid user. We know now who he meant. Thing is, Canseco could not find a publisher for his second book, so he was scooped by George Snitchell and his report. After his first book, Juiced, Canseco was widely dismissed as a bitter ex-player, but the report completely vindicates him … Clemens, incidentally, is the primary target in a new song about steroids in baseball, to be out for the holidays … Josh Towers, unwanted in Toronto, will sign soon with the San Diego Padres … New front-runner to land Canadian pitcher Erik Bedard: The Seattle Mariners … And Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, who doesn’t exactly need the money, sold his do-rag on eBay for $117 US and some of his game-used underwear for $160. I kid you not.
•Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks Toronto’s night life has become both attractive and dangerous and he’s “starting to become concerned” about his players being drawn to it.
Not that their Saturday night exploits in Toronto affected them Sunday, when they thoroughly trounced the Raptors.
In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.