"I just do what I’m told". It was a quote from Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant that said so little but also spoke volumes to how he felt about how things were going in 2011.
He was talking about the offence that staggered out of the gate under offensive coordinator Doug Berry before he and Head Coach Greg Marshall were fired after Week 8.
The team did see a surge for a three week period with the return of Ken Miller but the wheels came off the cart the same time Durant suffered injury after injury as the back half of the season wore on.
The Riders finished the season with the least amount of points on offence and second to last in total yards in the CFL.
When the season kicks off on Friday, it’s a new regime running that side of the ball. While Bob Dyce returns, he has been given the promotion to Offensive Coordinator.
Dyce isn’t doing it alone. He’s also got former Hamilton offensive coordinator Khari Jones by his side as Quarterbacks Coach and former Calgary Stampeders offensive line coach Kris Sweet running the offensive line with the added label of Run Game Coordinator.
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After failing to meet expectations in 2011, the Roughriders are banking on a new
roster to lead them back into the post-season and beyond.
In his rookie venture as an offensive coordinator Dyce has a mighty challenge in front of him but in the last 10 weeks of the 2011 season, Dyce learned a thing or two about the dynamic between Ken Miller and Darian Durant that made the Riders offence so successful and get to two Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010.
“Sitting in with Coach Miller it allowed me to see how he game planned and how he took input from the players and different from Doug. Not that his way was right or Coach Berry’s was right but any time you have varied approaches it’s great to see.”
The lesson learned appears to be going over well with the captain of the offence. Durant is promising to use his instincts more behind centre. Meaning, you’re more likely to see him run for 600 yards like he did in 2010 when he passed for over 5,500 yards rather than run for 300 rushing yards last season, which also saw his passing yardage take a serious blow.
On Wednesday, Durant said he’s not a 6’5 quarterback who is like a statue in the pocket. He wants to move and get going early and his offensive coordinator is encouraging it.
“When he does get into the mix and does run early it’s like it gets him into the game a little more. And when we talk about the offence and using people’s strengths that’s a strength that he has so we don’t want to cut back on that because when he does that often it puts pressure on defenses.”
The other big change addressed by head coach Corey Chamblin was the lack of a quarterback coach with the Riders in 2011.
Jamie Nye bleeds green and is the Roughrider insider for News Talk 980 CJME Regina and News Talk 650 CKOM Saskatoon. All of his Rider coverage can be found at www.GreenZoneFootball.com and you can follow him on Twitter @JamieNye.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|