July 22, 2011

Mullin: Buono and Co. on the hot seat in BC

Jim Mullin

It matters little what some of the media and fans say in BC.

Wally Buono isn’t going anywhere soon, except to the sideline as head coach of the BC Lions Friday night against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. At no time during his tenure with the Leos have the call-in shows reverberated this much with the message that it was time for Buono to hit the road.

Buono will always tell you that football is about results and the ‘what have you done for me lately?’ ethos.

The exciting losses to Montreal and Calgary were one thing, but the lifeless loss in Edmonton was quite another. Three-straight losses to what looked like a promising season is all the evidence needed for those who believe it’s time for Wally the GM to fire Wally the coach.

Lions owner David Braley has long ago declared his loyalty to Buono, providing the CFL’s winningest coach the opportunity to call his own exit date.

The Lions are 16-20 over their last three seasons, recording two consecutive 8-10 finishes in 2009 and 2010.

The sore point with many fans is the inconsistency of the offence. At times, Travis Lulay has looked like the next Dave Dickenson, while Geroy Simon has looked like he hasn’t aged a bit.

What is registering with the fans is the lack of any form of a running game, several dropped passes by a young receiving corps, and a predictable passing game.

Through all of this, the Lions have shown glimpses of being able to beat any team in the league. If they play to their potential tonight against the Ticats, you can be sure that there will be a major sigh of relief coming from the West Coast.


Jerome Dennis, the one-time Lion defensive halfback is back with the club after getting the axe from the Tiger-Cats.

However, many were surprised at who was released to make room for him, as defensive back David Hyland was presented with his goodbye papers.

With Davis Sanchez shuffling over to safety, Hyland missed tackles and pursued some poor angles at wide-side halfback. So the Lions also acquired former Stampeder J.R. Ruffin to add to the mix.

Practice roster rookie Khreem Smith or James Bryant could be inserted into the defensive front. An inaccurate radio report speculated the Lions were looking at two veteran linemen in addition to Joe McGrath.

According to the Vancouver Province, Buono denied there was interest in Sherko Haji-Rasouli who is fresh off a tour with Team Canada and the agent for Luke Fritz said he hadn’t been called.

The temporary answer to replacing the injured Jon Hameister-Reis will come from the coaching staff.

Kelly Bates will come out of retirement and suit up starting on Monday.