December 6, 2011

Pedersen: Plenty of options for Riders coach

Rod Pedersen

It’s getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

I’m talking about the speculation over who the next head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be. And for that matter, the next head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and B.C. Lions.

The Rider job first became vacant, as we all knew five days before the Riders’ last game that Ken Miller was hanging up the whistle for good.

On the evening of Grey Cup Sunday however, news leaked that the Toronto Argonauts were hiring Scott Milanovich as their head coach and that became official some four days later. That vacancy was filled at lightning speed.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats rather surprisingly tied a can to Marcel Bellefeuille last Wednesday and are reportedly moving quickly to replace him. Finally this past Monday, CFL career wins leader Wally Buono announced he will relinquish his head coaching role and stay on as Lions GM.

What’s ridiculous about all this is that Monday night TSN’s Dave Naylor and Glen Suitor were both reporting Lions defensive coordinator Mike Benevides will replace Buono pending owner approval (which won’t take a lot). At the same time, Sportsnet’s Arash Madani was reporting Benevides will interview with Rider GM Brendan Taman this week.


Is he going to coach two teams?

Seriously though, what I don’t understand is how this whole charade works. I’m talking about the transparency of it all. We know Stampeders offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson is interviewing with the Riders and Ticats while Blue Bomber defensive coordinator Tim Burke will talk with the Riders as well.

Why do we even know this?  Every team does it this way so I guess it’s the style, but if I was hiring for a high level position with my company, I’d target the person I want and do whatever it took to get him.  No one would even know it was going on.

Actually that’s what I think the Ticats are doing. GM Bob O’Billovich has stated he feels his is a Grey Cup calibre roster and all it needs is a proven, winning coach to take them over the top.

Hello, Kent Austin.

I was flamed considerably last week, including by the Ticats, for reporting Austin had interviewed with the Tabbies. I’ll say it again; I believe it to be true because a source close to Kent told me as much.  Maybe it wasn’t an “interview” per se, but I’ll guarantee they’re talking.

And that’s where the Riders come in again. The news of Austin talking with Hamilton did indeed set off alarm bells here in the Wheat Province and if nothing else, showed the Riders they had better speed up the process.

In a fan poll at, respondents are voting in favour of Austin being hired, followed closely by Dave Dickenson. Hmmm, both are former Grey Cup-winning quarterbacks.

Will the poll results influence the Riders’ decision? Who knows? However I’ve never known them to operate that way. But interestingly enough only three per cent of voters are in favour of 34-year old Corey Chamblin being hired in Saskatchewan.

At the Grey Cup, the Ticats defensive coordinator was regarded as Brendan Taman’s top choice but apparently it wouldn’t be a popular move. Maybe it’s just because people don’t know Chamblin well enough yet.

Anyways as the spiral turns, these are the days of our CFL lives. Just be careful what you read and don’t jump to any conclusions.