Orange has Lions coach seeing red after loss to Stamps

Last in the West Division, first when it comes to back-breaking stupidity. That’s the B.C. Lions one-third of the way through the CFL season after their 27-18 loss to the Calgary Stampeders Saturday that produced these unsolicited observations.

Blame game, Part One – It’s entirely unfair to pinpoint a single play that led to their demise and chances are if the game really got close Bo Levi Mitchell would have stepped on the gas leaned more heavily on a superior receiving corps that more than compensated for the fact they were down to their fourth-string running back.

If you did want one play however, you’d get no argument from coach Wally Buono about the third quarter objectionable conduct penalty taken by Anthony Orange.

Still in the game trailing 18-10, the B.C. cornerback had helped generate a stop on defence when he deftly kicked the ball in the direction of the Stamps bench. It was subtle but well within the definition of the rules.

The penalty allowed the Calgary drive to continue and naturally, the Stamps scored to generate what turned out to be margin of victory.

Orange knew he had the Lions seeing red.


Last time the Lions were on the field prior to their appearance in Calgary, Odell Willis was flagged for running through the Ottawa Redblacks bench, enabling the home team to continue a drive that resulted in a field goal in a four-point game.

If this was the Lions of another era, say the teams led by Dave Dickenson on offence and Korey Banks on defence, this team could get away which such silliness but the one assembled by Buono and Ed Hervey isn’t good enough to withstand lapses in judgment.

Buono wasn’t having any of it when it was suggested to him on TSN 1040 that the flag on Orange was borderline.

“It doesn’t matter. That’s the rule. The rule is the rule. Whether you kick the ball hard light or into something, its objectionable conduct Everybody knows that. So why do we keep making excuses for people?” he said.

Then when asked what the Lions can do to prevent discipline problems the coach was even more direct.

“Guys are disciplined,” said Buono, who has in the past imposed fines on dead-ball fouls. “The issue is you can’t release everybody. At this point you got to try to make them try to understand. You’re always at their mercy. Good teams don’t hurt keep hurting themselves like we have.”

B.C. had no business winning a game in which Calgary was simply dominant converting second-and-long situations. Mitchell was 8-11 passing on second-and-10 or longer for 270 yards and a touchdown, exposing the Lions secondary. B.C. cut Marcell Young after the Ottawa game but went into Calgary with two non-imports as reserves with only a rookie import on the practice roster, underlying an issue which has been apparent with the Lions since training camp.

They are guaranteed to remain division cellar-dwellers, however, should they continue to take insanely dumb and avoidable fouls that completely cloud the fact the Lions run defence continues to improve and the protection for Travis Lulay up front has been a quiet selling feature so far.

They are 1-9 in their last 10 against Calgary, 0-3 on the road this year against divisional opponents and 3-16 against the Stampeders, Edmonton and Winnipeg since the start of the 2016 regular season. There’s much more wrong here than a couple of silly penalties but a game free of brain cramps would be a good first step if the Lions are ever to be taken seriously.

Blame Game Part Two: There was no formal poll taken on the matter, but there were just as many post-game callers on TSN 1040 who had it in for Buono as those who came after Orange with torches and pitchforks.

Some callers felt the coach left his challenge flag in his pocket too long, failing to challenge a possible pass interference call on Manny Arceneaux early. There were calls questioning the play-calling wisdom of offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson for running Jeremiah Johnson on what became their final possession. B.C. was third-and-three with 1:58 left and Johnson was a yard short, stopped as usual by Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton.

Another social media contributor questioned Buono’s pre-season assertion that the Lions would be more liberal than conservative in his final year calling the shots.



Taking a gamble late on third-and-three doesn’t count as reckless, which was the approach that was suggested by the coach he might take but it indeed has not been apparent so far. Buono said he would need to be convinced to use more gadget plays on special teams this year but that hasn’t happened either under new coordinator Jeff Reinebold.

The Lions appeared to have something going on in that vein in the first half when backup quarterback Cody Fajardo was part of the kick unit but pulled back from the plan at the last second.

 Waving the flag: Two weeks ago in this space the Lions use of their non-import content was lauded when they started nine Canadians in Ottawa, but get an injury or two and it becomes apparent what they think of some of their Canuck depth.

An apparent shoulder injury to Shaq Johnson in practice put the Lions into juggle mode. They had planned to sit second-year Canadian Junior Luke and go with four imports on the defensive line and still had the ratio flexibility to do so by maintaining the ratio on offence.

Instead, the Lions went to import Kevin Elliott as the replacement for Johnson, which isn’t much positive reinforcement for 2017 Canadian draft pick Danny Vandervoort, who has had just as many practice reps as Elliott but instead was again limited to work on special teams. B.C. was knee deep in Canadians two weeks ago but against Calgary dressed McMaster running back Wayne Moore, who only got on the practice roster Sunday.

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (180 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

37 Comments on Orange has Lions coach seeing red after loss to Stamps

  1. Evil Empire // August 5, 2018 at 4:37 am //

    Been in the league since 2015. And, says he didn’t know it was a penalty. I call BS, on that.

  2. No one cares the lions are dead fold already

  3. If this was Russia, Orange would already be on a one way trip to the salt mines of Siberia…but this is Canada so he’ll probably just get cut.

  4. Dundas dude // August 5, 2018 at 7:01 am //

    I hope Orange doesn’t let this marginal call fester in him. Stuff happens, I’m not sure why, but there must be a purpose here somewhere. Life isn’t easy, but we’re in good hands.

    • Orange should not let himself become a Lemon because too many lemons will sour the team.I don’t think Orange will be the apple of the team’s eye for some time.

  5. Bombsquad // August 5, 2018 at 9:47 am //

    I think the Lions are toast and the playoffs are a fantasy at this point. Anything is possible in the CFL but I think even the crossover is not happening for BC. I think BC still has to play the Esks 2x, Stamps 2x & the Riders 2x, so things look pretty bleak. Wally’s coaching record speaks for itself but he’s a dinosaur that remains from the old days and it good he’s stepping away. Standing on the sidelines with no headset and walking around asking questions because he wants to know what’s happening isn’t very efficient imo, especially when it comes time to challenge a play and it has to go through a middle man and then relayed to Wally to make a decision. It’s looking like the Bombers, Riders & Esks don’t have to worry, two of them will get the second and third spots in the West and the other will get the crossover.

  6. Lions will win at most two more games this season. The one remaining against the Alouettes, and possibly one game against the Riders…what a sad way for Buono to go out. He should have retired at the end of last season. All of the “Left Coast” professional teams are LOOSERS; the Lions, Canucks, and Whitecraps.

    • Do not think the Lions can beat the Riders if they play like this.

    • You’re so negative !!! Whitecaps are playing better !! And give Canucks a few years, with all the young talent on the roster !!

      • Negative???? You can’t accept what is a fact???? Whitecraps are two points out of LAST PLACE in the Western Conference; and only one point in front of the Sounders who have played one fewer game. The CanucleHeads finished only three points better then the Coyotes who finished last in the Western Conference. The Canucks also finished sixth from last place overall. BTW, the Canucks were only nine points out of last place. In 2019 the Coyotes MIGHT finish AHEAD of the Canucks, who will likely finish last in the Western Conference. Overall, only Ottawa and Montreal (whom are “tire fires” themselves) will likely finish BEHIND the Canucks in the NHL league standings. The BC Lambs are eighth in a nine team league and last in West Division and out of the “pity loser” playoff crossover race for the East Division….ENOUGH SAID. P>S>: you must love the Lions, Canuckleheads, and Whitecraps 2018 regular season records because you yourself are obviously a loser.

  7. BigRedMachine // August 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm //

    Offensively I think Lulay gives them a chance to win in any game they play. Defensively they need a pass rush and their secondary was exposed on 2nd down by the Stamps. In hindsight blowing up their secondary over the off season was a mistake.

    • Bomber Fan Respect For Travis Lulay // August 5, 2018 at 6:56 pm //

      I’m a big Lulay fan, but he isnt the same Lulay that came off the bench last year from what Ive seen so far!

  8. Bomber Fan In The Stands // August 5, 2018 at 1:14 pm //

    Have to agree that Lulay, and their improving o line, gives BC a chance to win, but man…., they take way too many dumb penalties that cost them. Always have, except this year they don’t have a team good enough to dig themselves out. BC, in the past, have come back from huge losses. I could see them winning three more games.

  9. The lions are rebuilding. Next year is a little better but not much with all new coaches. Hopefully Hervey will find an experienced proven coach and not promote Washington or hire some other untested HC. Much thanks to Wally and owner Braily, but both are well past best before date.

    • None of the current BC lions coaches deserve to replace Buono next year. Hearvey should hire Devone Claybrooks’ out of the Stamps organization as the next Lions head coach and fire all of the current Lions coaches.

    • Evil Empire // August 7, 2018 at 12:20 am //


      Hervey was stuck with Kavis Reed his first yr in Edm, like he’s stuck with Wally this yr. But, he hired an unproven HC in Jones, that won a GC. Then when SK poached almost the entire coaching staff. He hired another unproven HC in Maas. His reg season record is 27-16.

      Like @Lionsfan4life said. A guy like Claybrooks might not be a bad choice.

      Afterall, who is a proven CFL HC out there that you’d actually want ? LaPo might be in line for a HC spot again. But SK will likely hire him after they fire Jones. There’s Benevides in Edm. You want him again ? Even a guy like Trestman has not coached well this year. And, these American rookie guys continue to be bad coaches unless handed all-star teams.

      Then more guys might be up for first time HC jobs. Thorpe ? Steinauer ? Claybrooks? But, Ham should fire Jones. And, let Steinauer take over there. I don’t even know if Stubler wants to be a HC. He seems happy doing what he does.

      I guess there’s an outside chance Ed could hire Jones again, after he gets fired from SK. But, would Jones take a demotion to HC/DC ? Especially, when he’ll be due another $700K+ just to sit on his butt in Tennessee for a year ? Plus he tried to steal Hervey’s credit for putting that team together. I don’t know if Ed would work with him again. But, he could keep Jones’ ego in check. And focused on being a very good DC. Even if he does have to take the chance on letting the guy be the HC, too. Because, he’s not a good HC. Luckily Edm was so good that even Jones couldn’t blow it in ‘15. But, he did play Reilly, and get him injured late in ‘14 if you recall. And Jones tried to blow the GCG in ‘15.

      There are only a cpl guys with CFL HC experience. And, a few more guys looking for their first CFL HC opportunity. I’d expect Ed Hervey to give another guy his first shot. He’s done pretty well at it so far.

  10. Sad to see Wally go out like this. Sometimes the game passes coaches by. Unfathomable to not wear a headset. Getting second and third hand info slows down a process. Jefferson/Orange should have known better just as Odel should have known better in their previous game. Not sure Hervey can re-build in a season. Lulay keeps them competitive but they are far from contending for a championship. I think Johnson is a very underated RB- he needs to stay involved in the offense and get 17-25 touches per game, on par with Harris and Wilder.

  11. Their defensive backs are terrible on coverage, as shown on all the long yardage plays on 2nd down last night !!

  12. BC suck from top to bottom. Time for Buono to pack it in! I think he lost magic touch. Used to be a good coach, but for the past few years the Lions going down fast under his coaching! Like I said early before time for a new management!!

  13. Clay Connor // August 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm //

    If you’re going to run up the middle on 3rd and 2, you might want to assign someone to block the middle linebacker.

  14. TouchDownBC // August 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm //

    Time to remove Bouno Dorazio Washington from the team….same issues here with a full turn over in players

  15. As I’ve explained numerous times, Buono is the Worst Big Game Coach In Pro Football History – – no coach has done LESS with MORE than Buono has with both the Lions and the Stamps.

    Buono looked great when the CFL was filled with useless coaches like Mike Kelly, Barf Andrus, Joe PooPoo , John Huard and Gary Etcheverry.

    But once smart young coaches like Mike O’Shea and Dave Dickenson joined the CFL coaching ranks, Buono was badly exposed.

    He should have been euthanized several years ago, but people have always fallen for the laughable rhetoric where he pleads “I
    can’t say no to Mr Braley.”

    Looks great to see Buono getting humiliated – – horrible players, undisciplined penalties, incompetent coordinators and position coaches – – to end his career.

  16. I think Buono started fading after Bob Ackles passed away in 2008. Yes I know they still won the GC in 2011 but the team (and organization) was just not the same. And where have all the Lions fans gone? I go to a game at BC Place now and I can hear my own echo. And can’t use the excuse that there’s competition with the Canucks because they suck. Sad.

  17. Area51- you got some hate in you man! Wow. Seems as though dudes in the CFL have done you wrong. I agree, Wally’s time is up and his team looks awful in most regards. But why take such satisfaction out of a HOF coach’s failure at the end of a long career? Seems malicious. You lose money on the Lions?

  18. TouchDownBC // August 6, 2018 at 12:04 am //

    Guys Area51 is bang on…Bouno and his clown crew are in over their heads and let the beatings continue until HC and clear put the useless cordinaters

  19. and I dunno- in my view, Wally was no paper tiger. he coached against some serious CFL legends like the Don and Ron Lancaster. 5 Cup wins as a head coach during that time is exceptional. Since returning as a coach, it seems as though the game has left him behind. I have seen it happen to other big time coaches and I find it a little sad to see it end this way.

  20. Buono is still there because he thinks hes had to be, he tried getting out years ago.

    • Evil Empire // August 7, 2018 at 12:33 am //


      Then he was mistaken. They hired a proven GM. They should have let him do his job.

  21. Orange took a bad penalty, yes, but I agree with TSN panel they should not have called it. To affect a game like that on a call like is ridiculous.

  22. People need to keep some perspective here.

    Yes, the Lions played with no discipline in Calgary and the game was not as close as the score indicates. The Lions have also been blown out by Winnipeg and Edmonton, and lost to Ottawa.

    However, the Lions 2-4 record is also not as bad as it looks. Based on the current standings the Lions have played five out of six games against the teams with best records in the CFL (Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg (twice), and Ottawa). During this time they won 1 game and narrowly lost a second to Ottawa. Compare that to a team like Edmonton, who are 5-2 thanks to wins over Toronto (twice), Hamilton, Montreal, BC and Sask, none of whom have a winning record. At the same time, Winnipeg has three wins out of four over losing teams. The Bombers have even lost to BC and Hamilton.

    This isn’t to say the Lions are a fantastic team, but rather to point out that the strength of schedule matters. The real test for the Lions will come between August 18th and October 6th. During that time they play Toronto, Sask, Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton, Hamilton and Toronto. That is 7 key, winnable games against teams that will be fighting for the Eastern Conference playoff spots. Win 6-7 of those and the Lions will have a good shot to make the playoffs in the East.

  23. Also, for those saying that Wally is past it or has been exposed by younger coaches like Dave Dickenson or Mike O’Shea, neither of those coaches have won a Grey Cup as a HC in the time since Wally came back either. Neither have Jason Maas in Edmonton or Chris Jones since being in Sask. As a Lion fan, would I trade any of those for Wally? DD probably yes, his record with the Stamps has been exceptional. But would the Leos be better off with O’Shea, Jones or Maas? I’m not so sure. Bottom line, let’s see how things play out. It’s August and still plenty of football to go…

    • Best post on this thread (so far)…well thought out and articulated. (Area51 gets 2nd place…LOL). Lions ONLY hope is the “pity playoff” crossover spot in the East, otherwise they WILL lose if they somehow by some miracle and meltdown by both the Bombers and the Riders manage to beat the Bombers and Riders in the West for third place.

  24. TouchDownBC // August 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm //

    Eskimos @ Lions this Thursday…34-14 Edmonton Win

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