Philip Lolley’s job is to give quarterbacks nightmares.
He should know what works. He used to be one as a kid.
“I knew what gave quarterbacks trouble,” said Lolley, the Edmonton Eskimos defence coordinator. “The quicker you make offences make a decision, the better.”
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Lolley, 65, has been honing that approach for over 40 years. The first time he took charge of a defence was when he was hired as head coach at Warrior Academy in Eutaw, Alabama. He was just 22.
“I was the youngest head coach in the state of Alabama,” recalled Lolley.
“I took over a program that had just went 0-10. Winning was something they hadn’t done recently. When they offered me the job, I thought, ‘I can’t do any worse than the last one or two guys.’”
Lolley thought the quickest way to improvement was by having a strong defence. He wanted to get after the quarterback.
“There’s a weakness in every defence, but I don’t want him to find it,” said Lolley.
“I do want him trying to have to speed his progression up. Hopefully, that leads to mistakes.”
It’s the same approach Lolley takes with the Eskimos and it’s paying off. The Eskimos are second in the CFL with 16 sacks. They’ve allowed only 222 yards per game. Calgary is next best at 318.
“Coaching defence is nothing but a puzzle. You have to figure out the puzzle,” said Lolley.
The next puzzle is the Montreal Alouettes, who the Eskimos visit on Saturday.
“They run a lot of the RPO (run pass option) game,” said Lolley. “They go up wanting to run the football. If you give them the run, they’re going to take it.”
The Esks beat the Als 32-25 in week one. Saturday’s game is on 630 CHED with the Countdown to Kick-off at 12:30 p.m. The game starts at 2 p.m.
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