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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FIRST TAKE

THOUGHTS ON MONDAY'S FIRINGS

- At first glance, it appears like Corey Chamblin gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders no choice but to fire him on Monday, August 31/2015 and he took the GM down with him.

- That's pretty much what the situation is, but there's plenty more to examine this morning less than 24 hours after the historic firings of Corey Chamblin and Brendan Taman by Canada's Team.  Historic because I can't remember a time when both the Coach and GM were shown the door together, unless it occured before I started following the team.

- Let me start by saying this: Chamblin had almost universal support throughout the organization when they won the Grey Cup in 2013.  However as one team staffer told me earlier this summer, "As soon as he lifted that Cup over his head, he changed.  It became all about him."

- Former Rider President Jim Hopson is being tarred and feathered by some for awarding Taman and Chamblin with hefty four year contract extensions in the spring of 2014 but his intentions were good.  And far be it for anyone to question Hopson's decisions from 2005-2014.  Hopson rewarded these two with new deals to reward their accomplishment for delivering a championship in the biggest season in Rider history.  He also wanted them to be able to go about their jobs without having to look over their shoulders.

- How was he to know Chamblin was going to go off track and take Taman with him?  I was leery of it at the time, but who the hell am I.

- Maybe it even began before that.  Things started to smell fishy in December of 2012 when Chamblin called special teams coordinator Craig Dickenson into his office and told him he was changing the terms of his contract.  It all had to do with the agreed-upon start date for the next season and Dickenson balked.  A deal's a deal and it was in black & white.  Dickenson had a job in less than 24 hours, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and later the Edmonton Eskimos.  He didn't need to put up with that garbage.

- Offensive coordinator Bob Dyce was demoted to make room for free agent coach George Cortez, and Dyce was later handed the portfolio of special teams coach.  Being ego-less, Dyce humbly accepted the move and knocked it out of the park.

- Another red flag went up during the 2014 season after Durant's injury.  There was a plan to go with the young quarterbacks, then that was yanked and they signed Kerry Joseph.  Joseph wasn't happy with the way he was dealt with.  Everybody was in the dark.  What was the plan?  Nobody knew.  And as Jeremy O'Day noted on CKRM late last summer, they were noticing a trend despite their seven game winning streak.  "We weren't blowing teams out anymore," the GM-in-waiting said at the time.  Was the talent base eroding?

- Another Rider staffer saw something during training camp this year that I was oblivious to.  He said, "Chamblin won't be around to coach a game in the new stadium."  This guy saw something that I didn't at the time, but frankly I'm hardly around the team at all except for the occasions they're on the field and I'm covering them.

- It's not like it used to be.  I'm certainly not piling on Chamblin here but he put several measures in place that made it really difficult for me to do my job.  Regarding Carm Carteri and me not travelling with the team this season for the first time in our careers, I can't get a straight answer out of anybody why that happened but one of the theories was that Chamblin was behind it.

- The rest of that matter will be handled internally with the new regime.  Hopefully all of these policies change back to the way they were when things were harmonious.  The relationships I built with coaches and players over the years while travelling together were being severed.  (How do you think I was able to get Brett Swain on the SportsCage in San Diego, Chris Getzlaf in Anaheim or secure the services of Paul Lapolice on radio on a weekly basis?  All because of the relationships we built).  For half a season in 2015, these were cut off completely.  I was furious.  And I'd done nothing wrong.  I've been nothing but supportive of Chamblin and this regime.

- My spider senses started tingling when Corey Chamblin lost his cool on the Leader Post's Murray McCormick in the Game 1 postgame news conference with his, "That's a bullshit question Murray!" response.  Granted the team had just lost the game, Darian Durant, Shea Emry, Nic Demski, Keenan MacDougall and Marshay Green.  But to me, it ran much deeper than that.

- This was a coach losing his composure one game into the season.  How much far back did it go?  And why?

- There's not much left to say on Chamblin but the talk of him wanting to be the winningest head coach in CFL history was hogwash.  Lip service.  He wanted to get Stateside coaching football as soon as possible and made no secret of it internally.  As of today, he can go to the States as soon as he wants.

- It's too bad.  I really liked the guy but it seemed as though he changed for the worse.

- Near the end too, it seemed like he was almost daring the franchise to fire him.  His actions were so bizarre.

- If Chamblin spends some time self-evaluating, he could re-emerge as one of the game's all-time great coaches.  Being fired is supposed to smarten you up.  It did to me so many years ago.  Hopefully the same applies here.  But he sabotaged himself.

- Did he lose the room?  I can't say for sure.  No players told me to my face they'd quit playing for him, however I never see the players because of the wedge that was driven in between.  I suppose to that extent, his ploy worked.

- As for Brendan Taman, I was fairly shocked to see he was released along with Chamblin however Sportsnet's Arash Madani seems to have it right (in the post below).

- Taman's only fault is he basically handed the keys to the organization over to Chamblin and forgot he himself was the boss.  I asked someone in the organization last week why everyone's so afraid of Chamblin and all I got in return was a blank stare.  There didn't seem to be an answer for that question.  Now it doesn't matter.

- Last spring in an interview I did with former Rider coach Ken Miller at the annual Regina Thunder Sportsman's Dinner at the Turvey Centre, I asked him what was the key to the team's success during his tenure here (2008-2010).  His answer was "Trust".

- All that trust was gone with this franchise until yesterday.  Nobody knew where they stood and there was no plan.  Chamblin was trying "quick fix" solutions and Taman went along with it.  Not anymore.

- So now the Jeremy O'Day Era begins in Saskatchewan with Bob Dyce as his head coach.  The franchise is in good hands because these two are as solid as they come.  They ooze character and are straight-shooters.  That goes a long ways with everybody, but particularly the players.

- At the end of the season I'm expecting the interim tag to be removed from O'Day's title and he'll takeover this franchise.  You have to get your start somewhere and for those questioning the move or admonishing O'Day already, they need to get a grip.  You can't criticize the man.  He's a blank canvas.

- As for Dyce, he was the best and only option at this time and I offered input on this with the club last week.  He's universally respected across the locker room and knows the rules (both old and new) inside out which makes him the ideal game tactician.  I was told he was intially reluctant to take over this team because they're not exactly the New England Patriots but perhaps he was given some sort of assurance past this year.

- However perhaps he wasn't.  Maybe he's just a good guy stepping up to help his franchise when needed.  That's the kind of guy he is.

- Bring on the Bombers.

- Oh and speaking of, I'll try a little Media 101 for those who don't understand how this works.  I'm close with both Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun and Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press/TSN.  However, they weren't right.  Paul Lapolice isn't the head coach of the Riders so that notion from Penton's column in July can be tossed aside.  And, if Lawless was correct, Chamblin was to be fired three weeks ago.  Perhaps if he had been, Taman would still have his job today.  Penton and Lawless were just throwing things in the air - we all do it - but in this case they affected my team and I stood up for it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

- Let's move on.

------

NOW PLEASE DISCUSS,
RP
@sportscage

RIDERS CLEAN HOUSE, ROLL THE DYCE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced on Monday they have fired head coach Corey Chamblin, and vice president of football operations and general manager Brendan Taman.

The Roughriders are coming off a 35-13 loss to Ottawa on Sunday that dropped their record to 0-9. They are the only winless club in the CFL this season and sit in the West Division basement - six points behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who are 3-6.

"We are not meeting our expectations or our standards on the field and these changes were necessary to move us forward,'' said Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds.

"Brendan and Corey worked tirelessly for this organization and I thank them for all that they have done for our team. But we are in a results oriented business and the current position of our team is unacceptable and this decision was necessary for us to build this team towards sustained success.''

Both vacated positions will be filled on an interim basis with a full search being conducted at seasons end. Jeremy O'Day has been named interim VP of football operations and general manager, while Bob Dyce has been named interim head coach.

Chamblin led Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup in 2013, but this season was a struggle right from Week 1 when starting quarterback Darian Durant went down with a season-ending injury. Veteran back-up Kevin Glenn followed Durant with an injury, leaving rookie Brett Smith at pivot.

Chamblin joined the Riders in 2012 and went 29-34.

CKRM/Sportsnet CFL insider Arash Madani broke the story Monday night and provided the following analysis...

MADANI COMMENTS ON 620 CKRM ON THE FIRINGS

"I think there might some kind of impression that Brendan Taman went down on the sword -- that he was told to fire Chamblin or he'd be out the door as well.  However the information I've been given is that that's not the case at all.

"Taman was, at this point, ready to part ways with Chamblin as the coach.  He knew he lost the team with how things shook down Sunday in Ottawa and it was time to turn the page.  But by that point it was too late.  The organization had decided it was time to end their time with the GM and the coach.  A GM whose first coaching hire was Corey Chamblin - a coach that brought them a championship - and was not given an opportunity to hire a second head coach.  That's what's most puzzling of all."

ON O'DAY AND DYCE

"At this point there was no other option.  You're not going to bring in a head coach worth his salt to take over an 0-9 team, to be a dead-man walking, with no quarterback, with no assurances past this year.  You had to go internally, you had to find somebody and the show has to go on, not only for Labour Day, the Banjo Bowl and the remainder of the season.  That's how things will be moving forward.  I'll be surprised if at sometime Jeremy O'Day isn't named the full-time GM in the months ahead but there will be a national search for the next head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders."

THE OTTAWA GAME WAS THE LAST STRAW FOR CHAMBLIN

"Totally agree.  Corey Chamblin lost his football team in Ottawa with how that all shook down.  Going with Tino Sunseri, a guy they weren't even fans of last season, cut in training camp, and you're supposed to be evaluating and developing for the future and you bench Brett Smith because of a sideline altercation in an emotional game?  These are supposed to be grown men and grown professionals making intelligent decisions.  This wasn't one.  While it wasn't the cause of Chamblin's demise, it was definitely the final straw that had him leave midway through this 2015 season."

(With files from the Canadian Press)

REGINA PATS INTRA-SQUAD RESULTS

Regina, Saskatchewan – The Regina Pats wrapped up their 2015 Rookie Camp with the annual Blue and White Game presented by Bennett Dunlop Ford.  Team White took the intrasquad game by a 5-2 score on the strength of two goal performances by Gary Haden and Braydon Buziak.  Pats alumni Kim MacDougall (Team White) and Boyd Kane (Team Blue) were the guest coaches for the evening.

Team White got out to the hot start with camp invite Lucas Muenchrath tallying in the early stages of the first period.  Just under four minutes later, the light side added to its advantage when Gary Haden found the back of the net.  Blue got on the board before the end of the frame when Dalton Ossman tipped Brendan Mark’s point shot past Ben Laidlaw.  Team White’s Braydon Buziak was the story of the middle frame.  The 17-year old beat Blue defencemen on two occasions with slick dekes to get in alone on the goaltender.  Garrett Szeremley scored for Team Blue to leave the count at 4-2 for White after forty minutes.  Haden picked up his second of the contest midway through the third to put White up by three.  That goal rounded out the scoring for a 5-2 Team White victory.

What’s Next?
The Pats will trim their roster down in preparation for the Rookie Showcase in Regina later this week.  The Pats play their first pre-season contest against the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday, September 3 to kick off the Showcase.  Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. at the Co-operators Arena.  Single game tickets for the tournament are $5 while a tournament pass is $20 or $15 with a Season Ticket Holder VIP Card.

(Courtesy Daniel Fink)

Monday, August 31, 2015

EMJ MARKETING MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


OTTAWA -- It's officially a disaster.  Perhaps more than we even know.

With their season on life support, the Saskatchewan Roughriders came up with one of the most uninspired efforts in years Sunday in Ottawa which ultimately led to an embarrassing 35-13 defeat.

The Riders’ record dropped to 0-9 and virtually any hope that the season can be saved was lost.

Why?  Because no indication was given that this trainwreck of a season is anywhere close to being turned around.

The Riders won the coin toss at the outset of Sunday’s game but deferred to the second half which gave Ottawa the ball.  They promptly moved 82 yards in just five plays for a 7-0 lead before rookie Rider quarterback Brett Smith even got a chance to touch the ball.

You’ll hear a lot about Brett Smith coming up.

After a prompt two-and-out by the Rider offense in their opening series (which included the first of 10 RedBlacks sacks on the day), Ottawa then put together a 78-yard drive which culminated in another touchdown.  14-0 Ottawa before the game was eight minutes old.

Ready to play on defense?

Hardly.

But the game turned in the second quarter.  Both ways.  The Riders got on the board with rookie Naaman Roosevelt’s first career touchdown, a 9-yard pass from Brett Smith, 2:36 into the second quarter.  14-10 RedBlacks.

However seven minutes later an ill-advised Smith pass was intercepted in the Ottawa endzone.  He was given the hook.

That’s okay, we thought.  Back-up Tino Sunseri would get a look for a couple of series and then Smith would be back in there.

That, apparently, was the plan initially.

Sunseri’s first drive seemed successful enough until Rider kicker Paul McCallum clanked the upright on a 35-yard attempt late in the half for no points.

The teams went into the break with Ottawa still up 14-10.

Surely we’d see Brett Smith - the rookie gunslinger from Wyoming who’s gaining more and more Rider fans with every snap – in the second half, right?

Wrong.

Saskatchewan had six possessions in the second half and Sunseri quarterbacked them all.  As the Riders fumbled the ball away time and again, as offensive linemen went down like flies and the Ottawa sacks mounted, it turned into an incredibly wretched display.

All the while, Smith stood stoicly on the Rider sidelines while clutching his helmet.

We were assured in the broadcast booth that Smith was indeed not injured.

So why wouldn’t he come back into the game?  Surely he represented the Riders’ best chance to win, no?

“There was a thought to putting him back in but things transpired that made it a moot point so we stuck with Tino,” Riders coach Corey Chamblin told 620 CKRM after the game.  “I'll leave it at that.  It started temporary but ended up being longer than that.”

When asked again hours after the game, the Roughriders refused to reveal what “transpired” with Smith on the sidelines.

That’s fine.  That opens the door for us to speculate.

And my guess is that Smith told off whoever made the decision to yank him from the game.  Could it have been offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine or Chamblin himself?  At this point, it doesn’t matter.

And, if my theory is true, how could you blame Smith?  His defensive teammates were missing tackles left and right and early on gave the Riders no chance to win.

And Smith throws one interception and gets pulled?

It would seem inexplicable, but then again no one can explain what’s gone so horribly wrong week-in and week-out in the worst Roughrider season in nearly 40 years.

My theory of a spat with Smith was confirmed in the Leader Post's postgame story by Murray McCormick.  Apparently, he didn't take the news of being pulled well and that's why he was benched for the duration.

Can't blame him.  Dwight Anderson used to scream at the coaches on a weekly basis but I guess that was okay.

Also, I don't know why Chamblin would divulge the Smith info to the rest of the media, but not during a live interview on the radio rightsholder 620 CKRM.

Regardless, clearly things denigrated into a 'I'll show you who's boss' situation at around the 8:00 mark of the second quarter on Sunday.  At the expense of the game, and of the team.

This tells us so many things about this football team right now and not one of them is good.

“There was some good things in all phases but as a team we lost,” Chamblin shrugged afterwards.  “Not enough guys rose to the occasion to win this game.”

How many guys rising to the occasion is it going to take to win a game?  You can’t fire 44 players but you can fire one coach and that's what the Rider Nation is screaming for today.  Chamblin was asked afterwards if he expects to be directing this football club in next week’s Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.

“Every week I come into this whether we're 8-2 or 0-9, the decision is never mine,” Chamblin said incredibly calmly.  “I still come to work and do what I need to do.  The decision doesn't lie in my hands.”

It will be interesting to see who's the boss come Sunday.

------

CARTERI'S CORNER

Here's the postgame analysis from 620 CKRM Rider Radio analyst Carm Carteri:

"No question it was embarrassing.  In my 27 years as a broadcaster up here with CKRM, I don't think I've ever felt this low for a football team.  I mean this was devastating.  The RedBlacks were a team I thought the Riders could beat and then head back home for a back-to-back with Winnipeg and get back into this western race.  But boy oh boy this display of football out here today in Ottawa was just draining because of the way they lost. 

"Ottawa opened up with two long drives and the Riders got behind 14-0 early.  It took a great effort out of Scott McHenry - a great Canadian kid out of Saskatoon - to block a punt and get this team right back in it.  But when you look at it, Brett Smith, who was fairly elusive in that first half, threw an untimely interception in the endzone and I think he got - well I don't know if I can say 'disciplined' or not - but he was benched after that.

"The Riders were only down by four points at the half!  They went with Tino Sunseri - which I thought was good to let Brett settle down a bit - but Tino didn't get anything going.  The Riders never went back to Brett Smith and I'm not saying that's why they lost this game, but I'm stunned sitting here right now.  You can't describe it.  Bad penalties, bad plays on offense, on defense, and then the RedBlacks made it happen for themselves.

"This is a Rider team really, really in trouble, if I can say that.  Or a franchise for that matter.  I don't know what they're building.  They've got some talent out there but right now the building blocks are knocked over and I don't know what the answer is.

"We're gonna have to check with Corey Chamblin on the Brett Smith thing.  That's going to be a big question asked: 'Why wasn't Brett Smith put back in the game?'  We know he wasn't injured.  We're both stunned up here in the booth why they wouldn't bring him back in the game when the Riders were still in it.  

"We're not gonna sit here and blame Tino because he was abused out there.  The RedBlacks went after him and they wound up with 10 sacks.  The RedBlacks really went after him and were a fired up football team.  And the Riders couldn't match that intensity.

"You can lose a game Rod, but when you don't show that effort, then it's something higher and hopefully that's something we can figure out."

------

The Riders flew home on a charter immediately after the game but Carm and I won't return home from Ottawa until Monday afternoon.

If there's a news conference on Monday, I won't be around for it.  That's a story for another day, but deserves to be told.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!
RP
@sportscage
Instagram: ridervoice


PFC FINAL: REGINA THUNDER 76 EDM HUSKIES 9

Colton Klassen ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns and Jaeden Marwick threw for 289 and five touchdowns as the Regina Thunder scored a franchise record 76 points in a Week 3, 76-9 win in Edmonton over the Huskies on Sunday.

Running back Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette continued to find the end zone with two touchdowns and 83 yards on 10 carries.

Kasim Ocaya caught seven balls for 146 yards and his 3rd and 4th touchdowns of the year to lead the Thunder receiving corps. Kris Calcutt also had a big day with 2 catches for touchdowns and 53 total yards. Preston Bews and Thomas Bresciani caught the other majors in the win.

Marcus Hall and Dustin Erbach both recorded interceptions, Hall returned his for 76 yards. Ethan Hautz had a fumble recovery in the game.

In total the Thunder forced 5 turnovers and gave up the ball just once.

The 3-0 Thunder will head to Saskatoon on Saturday to face the 3-0 Hilltops in a 7:00 kickoff at SMF Field.

(With files from Phil Andrews)

PATS BLUE & WHITE GAME TONIGHT!

The Regina Pats concluded the three team scrimmage portion of rookie camp on Sunday.

Teams Red and Blue started off the day with Team Red looking to clinch the best record for the weekend at The Cooperators Centre.  Gary Haden continued his scoring ways to get the game started right for Team Red.  Team Blue responded in a big way, scoring four unanswered markers from Dalton Ossman, Mackenzie Belinski, Jack Lenchyshyn and Jared Freadrich.  Team Red stormed back with goals from Colby Brandt, Carson Welke and Brendan Mark to tie the game 4-4.  Late in the contest Lane Zablocki came up clutch for his side, breaking the deadlock and giving Team Blue the 5-4 victory.

In the five o’clock matchup, Team Red and White traded goals through the first half with Red taking a 3-2 lead into the break.  Red built on their advantage with goals from Brendan Mark and Carson Welke for a 5-2 edge.  Undeterred, Team White climbed back into the contest with goals from Erik Gardiner and Braydon Buziak.  Trailing by one heading into the final minute with the goaltender on the bench, Team White couldn’t find the back of the net for a tying goal in a 5-4 Red win.

The final scrimmage of camp saw Team Blue carry forward their momentum scoring the first four goals of the game.  Jake Leschyshyn broke the run to get White on the board.  Braydon Buziak cut the Blue lead in half, but Garrett Szeremley replied for Blue to restore the three goal advantage.  Eric Otto got White back within two before the break and Erik Gardiner’s tip goal brought them within one to start off the final segment.  Brayden Camrud scored his second marker of the day to put Team Blue up 6-4, only to have Brodie Girod respond for White as he finished off a back door pass from Gardiner.  Once again, White pulled their goaltender, but couldn’t pull even as they fell by a 6-5 score.

The win moved Team Blue even with Team Red, both finishing the weekend with 3-1 records.  Team White didn’t register a win through the scrimmages, but lost by only one goal in three of their four matchups.

Rookie camp concludes tomorrow evening with the annual Blue and White Game presented by Bennett Dunlop Ford at the Co-operators Arena.  Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. as the top players from this weekend go head to head in their final opportunity to earn a place in the upcoming Rookie Showcase.  Admission to the Blue and White Game is $2.00 or a non-perishable food item.

(Courtesy Daniel Fink)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

MOSAIC PLACE RECAP: REDBLACKS 35 RIDERS 13


OTTAWA - Jeremiah Johnson took full advantage when opportunity came calling.

Johnson scored three rushing touchdowns as the Redblacks downed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 35-13 on Sunday, three days after Ottawa released international running back Chevon Walker, who he replaced in the starting lineup.

"I did what I was supposed to do. This is nothing different for me,'' said Johnson, who has now doubled his number of rushing touchdowns this season to six. "The organization gave me an opportunity and I'm ecstatic with my performance.

"Those guys up front did a tremendous job. They went out there and hit everybody in the mouth and I just made the necessary plays to make things happen.''

The Roughriders, who had their second lowest point total in a game this season, fell to 0-9. They scored just five points in a 35-5 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos on July 31.

After a tight first half that had Ottawa (5-4) in front 14-10, the game took a huge turn in favour of the Redblacks over a span of three minutes and 44 seconds from the end of the third quarter and into the fourth.

Ottawa scored 21 points in that span to take a 35-10 lead and control of the game.

It started with 3:09 to play in the third quarter when Johnson scored a one-yard touchdown run that once converted by Chris Milo, gave the Redblacks a 21-10 lead.

On the ensuing series, Ottawa recovered a Saskatchewan fumble and Johnson scampered in from 36 yards out on the next play for another score and a 28-10 lead.

Another Riders' fumble late in the third quarter was converted into points on a one-yard run from Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris 35 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Milo then converted his fifth touchdown of the day and the Redblacks were cruising with a 35-10 lead.

Paul McCallum kicked a 28-yard field goal with less than seven minutes to play, cutting the Saskatchewan deficit to 35-13.

The Redblacks defence recorded 10 sacks. They also forced two fumbles and intercepted one pass.

"It was a team effort on our defence and coach (Mark) Nelson called the game really well and the defence played very well,'' said Justin Capicciotti, who led the charge with three sacks and six tackles.

"That's the best time, when you're up and you know you get to pass rush because you know they have to throw the ball. You get to go after the quarterback.''

The Redblacks scored on their opening two drives to take a 14-0 lead while allowing the Riders to just five offensive plays over their first two series.

Ottawa covered 89 yards in five plays on the opening drive of the game that ended with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Burris to Maurice Price. The conversion by Milo gave the Redblacks a 7-0 lead.

After forcing the Roughriders into a two-and-out situation, Ottawa moved the ball 78 yards in just under three minutes and took a 14-0 lead on a seven-yard touchdown run from Johnson.

The rest of the half featured only punts for the Redblacks as the Roughriders possessed the only offensive punch before the break.

They got punt singles of 48 and 70 yards from Ray Early and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Brett Smith to Naaman Roosevelt. Smith then carries the ball in himself on the two-point conversion to complete the eight-point scoring drive.

"We talked about winning the penalty battle and we talked about winning the turnover battle. That was the tale of two teams right there,'' Roughriders coach Corey Chamblin explained.

"We came out in the second half and just played losing football in all three phases. (Ottawa) played good football, don't get me wrong, but we just didn't have it and we weren't together. We looked more like individuals than a team in the second half.''

The Redblacks head into their second and final bye week of the season while the Roughriders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sept. 6.

(The Canadian Press)


POSTGAME COMMENTS

CHAMBLIN

- They had two early scores against the D and offensively we didn't have much then.  Then we settled in and had a chance but the pick changed momentum just a little bit.  We have to play team football, not individual football.

- There was a thought to put (Brett Smith) back in but things transpired that made it a moot point so we stuck with Tino.  I'll leave it at that.  It started temporary but ended up being longer than that.

- There was some good things in all phases but as a team we lost.  Not enough guys rose to the occasion to win this game.

- Right now we've had injuries and changes but for the most part we're just not playing team football right now.  There is not one set answer.

- We've had a lot of change and sometimes it's hard to preach to new guys and rally around that.  It's not always positive in situations like that with new guys.  We're not playing with the crew that we started with but we still have to move forward.

- Every week I come into this whether we're 8-2 or 0-9, the decision is never mine.  I still come to work and do what I need to do.  The decision doesn't lie in my hands.

- Brett Smith is healthy for next week.  We'll sit down and discuss what to do next week.

CHICK

- I can't put a finger on it.  To me, it's from within.  It's inside a person and there is no answer.  All across the board today was undisciplined.  It was a tail of two cities for the last two games.  It wasn't the same squad out there today but I'd die for all these guys.  From meetings to scheme, we're doing the right things.  We've got the right mental attitude.

- The determination is there.  The pregame stuff is there. It's the on-the-field presence.  I can't say it's any one thing.  Last week we got down to five penalties and this week, I don't know what it is, we had far too many and took points off the field.  We'd make big plays on defense and then there's a flag.  You can't blame that on the coach.  That's execution.

- It's always my approach but even moreso now; we have half a season left.  When you're 0-9, I know what goes on in everyone's mind from the top down.  I have to find everything I can do to be more professional and help the team win.

DRESSLER

- A lot went wrong.  You watched the game.  We didn't much good in any phase of the game.  I wish I knew what to tell you.  It's one of those things wherever we wanted to do, it didn't work.  Playcalls or execution.

- There's some penalties we need to clean up.  We did a good job of focusing on that last week but we took a step backwards on that today.  They put us in tough positions.

- We had a couple guys go down on the O-line and when you're shifting those guys around, they're just trying to help the team.  It's makes it tough on a quarterback for sure.

- Any time you lose nine games in a row it's hard to keep the belief you have what it takes to win games.  We try to keep it in the locker room and you hear what's going on outside but guys are staying positive and believe we have the players to win games.

GOLD'S GYM EAST ROUGHRIDERS AT REDBLACKS PREVIEW


SASKATCHEWAN (0-8) at OTTAWA (4-4)
Sunday, 2 pm Sask Time, TD Place Stadium
TSN, ESPN2, 620 CKRM Rider Network
Pregame Coverage: 11:00 am, 620 CKRM

RIDERS: Road 0-3, vs East 0-3
REDBLACKS: Home 3-1, vs West 2-3

RIDER OFFENSE: RUSH 1ST, PASS 2ND, OVERALL 1ST
Rookie QB Brett Smith is 0-3 as a starter (61.6%, 623 yds, 5 TDs, 4 INTs) ... SB Weston Dressler is 9th in CFL receiving (450 yds, 3 TDs) ... RB Jerome Messam is 2nd in CFL rushing (492 yds, 1 TD) ... Riders are 4th in points scored and 4th in fewest sacks allowed.

REDBLACK OFFENSE: RUSH 9TH, PASS 3RD, OVERALL 5TH
QB Henry Burris is 4th in CFL passing (69.3%, 2235 yds, 9 TDs, 6 INTs) ... REC Chris Williams in 5th in CFL receiving (490 yds, 1 TD) ... RB Jeremiah Johnson is is their leading active back (86 yds, 3 TDs) ... Ottawa is 9th in points scored and 6th in sacks allowed.

RIDER DEFENSE: RUSH 7TH, PASS 9TH, OVERALL 8TH
DE's John Chick and Alex Hall lead the club in sacks (5) ... Brackenridge, Doughty and Green lead in INT (1) ... LB Jeff Knox Jr. is #2 in CFL tackles (49) ... Riders are 9th in points allowed and 7th in sacks.

REDBLACK DEFENSE: RUSH 4TH, PASS 2ND, OVERALL 2ND
DL Aston Whiteside is tied for the league sack lead (6) ... DB Jerrell Gavins leads the club in INT (3) ... LB Damaso Munoz is their leading active tackler (31) ... RedBlacks are 6th in points allowed and 2nd in sacks.

RIDER SPEC TEAMS: K Paul McCallum is 16/18 on field goals ... P Ray Early is 3rd in CFL punting average (46.2) ... Steven Miller leads in PR and KR yards ... Jeff Knox Jr. leads in ST tackles (9).

REDBLACK SPEC TEAMS: K Chris Milo is 3/4 on FGs ... Former Argo Ronnie Pfeffer makes his RedBlacks debut (44.2 avg) ... Jeremiah Johnson is their active KR yardage leader while Chris Williams leads in PR yards ... LB James Green leads in ST tackles (8).

INTANGIBLES: The referee is Kim Murphy ... Riders are a CFL-worst -9 in turnover ratio while Ottawa is ranked 6th at -3 ... Saskatchewan is the CFL's most-penalized team while Ottawa is 4th ... TD Place Stadium is sold out to capacity (24,000) for this game ... Ottawa is favoured by 2.5-points ... The forecast calls for sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius ... Saskatchewan swept the two game season series in 2014 including a 38-14 win at Ottawa on August 2nd.

RP
@sportscage

REGINA PATS DAY 1 CAMP RECAP

The Regina Pats began their lead-up to the 2015-16 season Saturday as three teams of rookies and prospects took to the ice.  The three squads opened the day with 45 minute practice sessions in the morning before moving on to scrimmages in the afternoon and evening.

The first matchup featured teams White and Blue.  Camp invite Kyle Forbes opened the weekend’s scoring for Team Blue before Team White’s Erik Gardiner evened things up by way of Jake Leschyshyn.  The first penalty of the day went against White and newly acquired forward Lane Zablocki capitalized to give Blue a 2-1 lead.  Trailing 4-2 late in the game, Team White pulled within one when Eric Otto tapped in a Trevor Woytcke rebound.  White pulled the goaltender late, but couldn’t find the equalizer as Team Blue kicked things off with a 4-3 victory.

The middle contest pitted Team Blue in their second game of the day against a fresh Team Red.  The Blue side started the scoring again when Regina native Riley Woods got in alone and slid the puck by Jordan Hollett.  Team Red bounced back, scoring three straight from Gary Haden, Trygve Many Guns and Carson Welke to lead 3-1 at the midway point.  Lane Zablocki got back into the action, scoring off the rush before setting up Brayden Camrud on a nice back hand feed.  Team Red took control from there with Jake Elmer striking before Haden picked up his second of the game to wrap it up on a 5-3 count.

The final matchup on the evening saw Team Red continue its winning ways.  The first half of the game was low scoring with Caleb Riess tallying for Red and Brady Pouteau scoring for White.  The second half saw the scoreboard tilt one way as Team Red scored four unanswered.  Trygve Many Guns found the back of the net twice on heavy wrist shots while Ryan Krushen and Gary Haden scored the other markers for a 5-1 final score.

Team Red finished the day leading the way with a 2-0 record followed by Team Blue at 1-1 with Team White looking to bounce back on Sunday, falling to 0-2 on the weekend.  Sunday’s schedule runs similar to Saturday with practices starting at 8:30 a.m. and scrimmages beginning at 3:00 p.m. all at the Co-operators Arena.

Camp concludes Monday with the Blue and White Game at 7:00 p.m. at the Co-operators Arena featuring the top forty players from the weekend sessions.  Admission to the game is $2.00 or the donation of a non-perishable food item.

(Courtesy Daniel Fink)