CFL: Pressure on Paul LaPolice growing as Redblacks visit Elks

Paul LaPolice isn’t scared, even if his current record as Ottawa Redblacks coach indicates he should be.

Heading into a Saturday night rematch against the Edmonton Elks in Alberta, LaPolice is 4-19 over 23 games on the Ottawa sideline. His team is coming off a 30-12 loss on Aug. 17 to Edmonton in which it led 12-3 in the second quarter before being outclassed after halftime.

And it wasn’t like the Redblacks (1-8) were playing a Grey Cup contender. The Elks are just 3-7 with all three wins on the road against weaker Eastern Conference foes. Yet LaPolice said he won’t coach with his head on a swivel, worrying about repercussions from continued losses.

“We worry about what we can control,” he said. “I’m worried about beating Edmonton. I’ve been in this business 20-something years. You don’t get in this business if you’re ever scared. We’ll find a way to get better.”

Perhaps playing on the road will do it. Ottawa is 1-19 in its past 20 games at home. The Elks haven’t won at home yet this season. And as incongruous as it sounds, the Redblacks can still make a push for a playoff spot in a conference where no team has a winning record.

Meanwhile, Edmonton will need a lot to go right in order to have any kind of shot at a playoff spot in the West. It’s the only sub-.500 side in a conference where the top three teams (Winnipeg, BC and Calgary) are a combined 24-6 and Saskatchewan is a respectable 5-5.

But the Elks can at least boast of doing something at Ottawa they hadn’t done in three years: Score touchdowns on three straight drives. That’s what happened to start the second half, turning a 12-9 nailbiter into a comfortable victory.

“It’s huge; it’s a confidence boost,” said Edmonton quarterback Taylor Cornelius. “It wears the defense out and it gives our defense a whole lot of time to rest.”

Cornelius threw for 208 yards and two scores while adding another 47 yards on the ground to pace the Elks’ attack.

–Field Level Media

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