Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jones, Campbell Kick off Grey Cup Festivities with Annual Coaches Conference

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jones, Campbell Kick off Grey Cup Festivities with Annual Coaches Conference

Article excerpt

Jones, Campbell kick off Grey Cup festivities


WINNIPEG - They're different personalities, but Rick Campbell and Chris Jones are taking similar approaches to preparing their teams for the Grey Cup game.

The two will make their Grey Cup head coaching debuts Sunday when the Ottawa Redblacks meet the Edmonton Eskimos at Investors Group Field. On Wednesday at the annual Grey Cup coaches news conference, Campbell and Jones said they've told their players to enjoy this week but not lose sight of why they're here.

"If you win the Grey Cup, you're a Grey Cup champion forever and you'll remember it forever so that's where you want to focus to be," said Campbell, in his second season at Ottawa's head coach. "We're not going to discourage our guys from interacting with fans and enjoying the process but it's got to be about football."

Jones's message was much more direct.

"You assume when you're young that a lot of things are going to happen over and over and over," the Tennessee native said with a noticeable southern drawl. "There's no guarantee that you'll ever be back.

"We flew in on a plane and that plane's going out so if you act the wrong way (you'll be on that flight out of Winnipeg)."

It's no accident Edmonton and Ottawa are in the CFL title game. Both teams finished atop their respective divisions under their second-year head coaches.

After winning just two games in its inaugural season, the Redblacks topped the East Division with a 12-6 season and put an Ottawa-based team into the Grey Cup for the first time since '81 with a thrilling 35-28 conference final win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday. Edmonton finished tied with Calgary for the CFL's best record at 14-4 but got first by winning the season series with the Stampeders, then dispatched the defending league champion 45-31 in the West conference finale.

Appropriately, Campbell and Jones are finalists for the CFL's coach-of-the-year honour, which will be handed out Thursday night at the league's awards banquet rather than after the Grey Cup.

While Campbell, 44, and Jones, 49, are in their first Grey Cup game as head coaches, both have been here before as assistants. …

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