BC Lions coaching transition from “GM Brillo” to “Magic Mike”

It’s 5:01 Time

B.C. Lions Coach Mike Benevides is proving to the league that he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.

5:01 may be the mantra, but Coach Mike Benevides doesn’t need to keep referencing a clock to show the rest of the CFL that this is no longer Wally Buono’s team.

Just two games into his inaugural season as the head cheese, Coach Bene is already putting his stamp on his BC Lions. Make no mistake, we are witnessing a different ball club. 

So just how can a guy who has coached under Buono for a decade, and have been hand-picked by the man himself as his successor differ so much?

Quite simply, Coach Bene appears to have a few more tricks in his gameplan.

Wally Buono

Coach Bene is a lot different than Coach Buono after all…

In the opener against Winnipeg the Lions calmly started the second half with an on-side kick.

It was a move which signified Benevides and his Leo’s aren’t afraid to pull out all stops to keep opponents on their toes.

Now this was no ordinary on side kick either

Paul McCallum, the most accurate right footer in the league, placed this ball perfectly with his left foot.

That’s like having Travis Lulay throw an out pattern to Geroy Simon with his left hand.  Only a confident coach would allow his players to try something like this.

Jump forward to last Friday in the game against Hamilton.

In a contest separated by only three points in the dying minutes, the Lions with possession of the ball, the coaching staff calls for a direct snap to Running Back Andrew Harris who ripped past a stunned Tiger-Cat defense for a first down, icing the victory.

I’m not sure Wally would’ve pulled those tricks out of his hat

As Lions fans we had become so accustomed to the conservative, west coast regime under the old coach, and while we still appreciate the efficiency of the offense, led by Co-ordinator Jacques Chapdelaine, under Wally we were starved for a little trickery.

Mike Benevides

Coach Mike Benevides is proving to the league that he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.

Mike seems to be adding just the right amount of fun into a business like setting.  Consider this, during training camp he ended the dreaded two-a-days by issuing a punt challenge.

The players had to select one member from the O-Line and one member from the D-Line to shag punts.  Jovan Olafioye and Maurice Evans were nominated and had to catch 3 of 4 attempts.

Both were successful on their first attempt but after big Jovan muffed his second chance it was all up to the first year player.

Mo made no mistake and was quickly engulfed his elated teammates.

The sheer jubilation from the players was infectious.

That’s great coaching leading to players buying into the new system.

Two games in and two high risk plays already

I’m buying to into the 5:01 and looking forward to the next gadget play.  Statue of Liberty anyone?

Although let’s not get too giddy here.

If that on-side kick doesn’t travel 10 yards, or that direct snap gets air-mailed into open territory some of us would be questioning the young coach, possibly even clamouring for Wally to return to the sidelines.

Special plays leading to 2-0 buys you peace of mind, respect from players and the early endearment of fans.

If the clocks in the CFL offices aren’t already set to 5:01 they soon will be.

Cheers, The Bartender


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About Phil Slater

"The Bartender" - Raised on Vancouver Island where Phil played Football and Rugby in High School. Played O-Line for Bishop's University. A loyal member of the BC Lions nation since age 9. BC bred but travelled sea to sea in Canada trying to get a pulse on fan nation above the 49th. Unofficial voice of bartenders everywhere. Connect with Phil today!
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  • NWSportsBeat

    Phil, “Special plays leading to 2-0 buys you peace of mind, respect from players and the early endearment of fans.” Very very true. But wouldn’t you agree the Leo’s are DAMN lucky to be 2-0? Maybe its just that expectations are much higher this year…

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