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Monday, August 3, 2015

CHAMBLIN RIDERS COACH "GOING FORWARD"


Roughriders GM Brendan Taman told reporters on Monday that he met with Corey Chamblin earlier in the day and that he remains the head coach of the team "going forward".

Taman said the team's Board of Directors supports the decision and that Chamblin's earned the chance to try to turn this winless season around.

Taman also said he expects Chamblin will be the team's coach "for the year".  His contract runs through the 2017 season, as does Taman's.  Taman later clarified his comments on 620 CKRM's SportsCage stating he'd prefer if Chamblin fulfills his contract and beyond.

The GM would not address Saturday's TSN report that Chamblin was to be fired during next week's bye.
 

EMJ MARKETING MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


REGINA -- By the time you read this, Corey Chamblin may have already been fired.

But I highly doubt it.  And the more I hear and think about it, he may not be dismissed at all.

Amidst the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 0-6 start, which included a 30-5 loss at Edmonton on Friday, a report came out via TSN over the weekend that Rider GM Brendan Taman was set to recommend the firing of head coach Corey Chamblin to club President Craig Reynolds.

No one knows where TSN insider Gary Lawless got this information.

Oddly, this came less than a week after Lawless told the nation Taman would not be firing Chamblin, thus putting his own job in jeopardy.

Hence, the top sentence of this column.  Things are changing by the minute here in Riderville and I’ve been doing my best to stay in the shadows and try to report only the correct information, if any at all.

So as of today, Chamblin is employed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as head coach.  In fact Saturday night, Chamblin told a reporter it’s “business as usual”.

However Chamblin’s paid to win football games and the club is 0-6.  The speculation is reasonable.

But let’s go back for a second and examine Friday’s game and the reason this club is off to its worst start since 1979.

After the game the players and the coach generally agreed they had one of their better games on defense all year, holding Edmonton to 23 or so points (7 were scored on a pick six thrown by rookie Rider quarterback Brett Smith).

The trouble here is the Roughriders won the coin toss but gave the Eskimos the ball and the wind to open the game.  The home team promptly marched the ball 76-yards down the field and opened the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown reception by Kenny Stafford for a 7-0 lead at the 5:40 mark.  That’s all the offense they’d need for the rest of the game.

So there’s that.

Saskatchewan quarterback Brett Smith was in a hole before he even took his first pro snap.  And then the penalties started.  The Rider players had said before the game they all needed to help out their rookie quarterback by cleaning up their game but they then proceeded to take 17 penalties for 127 yards.   Many of them took great plays, and first downs, by Smith and his receivers off the board.  Every offensive lineman was flagged on the night with the exception of Brendon Labatte.  The receivers took turns going offside.

The Riders averaged 13.6 penalties per game going into the Edmonton contest so they far exceeded that total Friday night.  And Chris Jones’ Eskimos kept their penalty total down to seven in this game.

The Riders are in no way a disciplined team, although we’ve been told otherwise.

And therefore, Chamblin is on the hotseat at 0-6.

No matter that the Riders’ top two quarterbacks are down and the club has been hit by a rash of adversity.

These are not your Dad’s Roughriders.  Losing will not be tolerated.

“Oh ya there’s no setback on that end,” Brendan Taman told me before Friday’s game.  “This is a ‘wins’ business.  Whoever’s playing at whatever position, we’re expected to go win the game.”

My follow-up question to that was if Taman’s getting an edict from the higher-ups of “make the playoffs or else!”?

“We’ve been in the business long enough to know they don’t have to say much for us to know we have to win,” Taman explained.  “Whatever comes from above, comes from above.  But all me and Corey can do is put the best guys out there and try to win games.  We’re working towards that and hopefully we can get that accomplished.”

The TSN report threw the franchise into chaos over the weekend.  President Craig Reynolds probably felt like he’s trying to navigate a monsoon in a dingy.  He and Taman huddled up on Sunday but the contents of their meeting aren't known.  At least not by me.

I was half expecting to hear Chamblin walked into the offices and demanded to be fired given the fact he was effectively pantsed on national television Saturday afternoon.  Could you blame him?

However from what I can gather, he hasn’t.

And a CFL powerbroker told me the possible replacements named by Lawless - Paul Lapolice and Mike Benevides – are hesitant to come here due to the toxic environment which has been created.

How could you tie a can to Chamblin with no one lined up to replace him?

Stay tuned.  This will only get more interesting from here on in.

Brendan Taman will be on 620 CKRM's SportsCage today (Holiday Monday) at 5:05 pm to discuss the latest.

RP


RED SOX UP 1-0, HOME MONDAY

The Regina Red Sox drew first blood in game one of their opening round playoff series recording a 5-3 victory over the visiting Yorkton Cardinals.

It started out as a classic pitching matchup between Tommy Lay and Yorkton’s Kody Rock.  Lay worked seven solid innings giving up two runs on six hits while fanning three. Rock was chased from game in the bottom of the seventh.

360 Red Sox faithful watched as head coach Scotty Douglas put the game in the hands of the bullpen calling on reliever Jeremy Sylvester in the eighth inning. Mike Thill came on to close out the game for Regina in the ninth.

With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Garrett Hall, the freshman catcher from Rogers State, drove in Brandon Vaughn for the eventual game winning run.

Regina shortstop Gabby Montero also held a hot bat Sunday night, as he was three for four with three runs scored.

One of the night’s other highlights was Gabe Snyder’s game changing catch along the first base line to rob Yorkton of an extra base hit.

Game two of this series is scheduled for Monday night at Currie Field. Game time is set for 7:05 pm.

(Courtesy Outlaw Communications)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

MONDAY SPORTS

Chris Colabello hit a two-run home run while R-A Dickey threw seven shutout innings in Toronto's heated 5-2 win over Kansas City. Both benches and bullpens emptied after Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez was ejected for throwing at Kansas City's Alcides Escobar in the eighth. It was the climax of a game-long spat that began when Royals starter Edinson Volquez hit Josh Donaldson on the left arm in the first inning.

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Former Blue Jay Daniel Norris had a solid debut for the Tigers in a 6-1 win over the Orioles. Norris took a three-hitter into the eighth inning in his first game with Detroit after being acquired from Toronto in the David Price deal on Thursday. The 22-year-old lefty allowed four hits, one walk while striking out five in 7-and-a-third innings for his second career victory.

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Andre Ethier hit his second dramatic home run in three innings - a two-run shot in the 10th - to lead the Dodgers to a three-game Freeway Series sweep with a 5-3 victory over the sputtering Angels. The Angels have lost six games in a row. Meanwhile, the Dodgers' are a season-high 15 games over .500.

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Kent Austin has plenty to smile about these days.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats not only return home after opening the season with four straight road games but are also poised to get some of their walking wounded back. Luke Tasker, the club's leading receiver last year, will make his 2015 debut Monday night when the Ticats host the arch-rival Toronto Argonauts (3-1) at 5:00 Sask Time on TSN.

"We're just glad to be here, we always knew this was going to be here for us,'' Austin, the Ticats head coach/GM, told reporters. "We're glad it arrived but let me tell you we've learned a lot in the process.

"Every team has their challenges, we're no different than anybody else. I think all experiences, bad, good, anywhere in between, are experiences you should learn from and how to get better and improve as a football team. Hopefully we've done that.''

Hamilton (2-2) has been unbeatable so far at Tim Hortons Field, registering seven straight wins since moving into the new facility last September. The Ticats' first victory there was a 13-12 decision over Toronto on Sept. 1.

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American Pharoah turned on the speed in the stretch and easily won the Haskell Invitational in his first race since sweeping the Triple Crown. The three-year-old colt cruised to a 2-and-a-quarter-length victory under jockey Victor Espinoza. American Pharoah swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

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The Maple Leafs and goaltender Jonathan Bernier avoided arbitration by agreeing to a new two-year contract. The deal will pay the 26-year-old 8-point-3 million dollars. Bernier was the final restricted-free agent remaining on Toronto's list.

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Troy Merritt walked to the final tee with a three-shot lead and slapped hands with fans on both sides of the ropes, knowing he had all but wrapped up his first PGA Tour title. Merritt shot a 4-under 67 in the final round to win the Quicken Loans National - his first career victory in 96 starts. Abbotsford, B-C's Adam Hadwin tied for 21st.

(Canadian Press)

CHAMBLIN'S AIRPORT COMMENTS

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin met reporters at the Regina Airport upon the team's return from Edmonton and Friday's 30-5 loss to the Eskimos which dropped their record to 0-6.  Here are some of his quotes:

HOW DO YOU KEEP THE TEAM'S SPIRITS UP?

CC:  That's always tough, regardless of the situation.  The guys that were in that room last night are the same guys that have been in the room.  We'll sit down and find ways to not only have a good fight but always come out with the win.  That's the toughest thing right now - you're doing some things right and there are some things that are not being done right.  With all the things that we've had go against us, we have to find ways to get out of it.

HOW MUCH OF THIS IS ON YOUR SHOULDERS?

CC:  Being the head coach, that's a part of it.  It doesn't matter how much I want to take or don't want to take, being the head coach that's what it is.  The one thing I said I'd never do is start to point fingers which I never do.  My job is to give this team hope.  My job is to make sure that until it's actually done, to keep life and keep pushing this team forward.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO BETTER?

CC:  I can't throw the ball.  I can't run the ball.  Like anything else, I think I can just keep the course with what I'm doing.  Me doing something better, I'm not sure what a head coach could do better.  I'm constantly analyzing myself, analyzing where I am.  Doing better?  I can't give you that answer right now.  If I could, I would do it.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THE ADVERSITY THE TEAM'S FACED?

CC:  You guys understand that.  You can see that.  I'm never going to rely on an excuse.  I'm not built that way.  There's reality and there's excuses.  The reality is we have had adversity.  I think the good mark of any good football team and any good coach is fighting through the adversity and that's what we're doing.

WHY DID YOU PULL QB BRETT SMITH?

CC:  That had nothing to do with Brett's play at that point.  That was just one of those things where I told Jacques, "Let's see Tino".  That was not a negative towards Brett.  I told Brett, "You're not being pulled.  I just want to see Tino at this point".  It was at the point where the game wasn't going to be won.  A lot of people asked why we didn't leave Brett in to get those reps but we have to see what Tino has at this point also.

WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR EXCHANGE WITH NIC DEMSKI?

CC:  The one thing you'll never see is me light into guys on the sideline.  That's very negative when you see that.  I get after the guys enough, but I don't like to do it on the sidelines.  I might have been wrong for doing it to Nic but I didn't light into Nic.  The actual conversation was about me saying, "This is an opportunity for you to fight.  Don't have your head down".  That's what I lit into him about, because he had his head down.  I never want to see a player come off the field with his head down.  I don't care what the situation is -- never give up.  That's what I got after is -- don't ever put your head down.

RED SOX HEADED TO THE PLAYOFFS

It was win and you’re in Playoff scenario for the Swift Current Indians at Currie Field Saturday night. With the Indians 4-3 victory in Regina, they will head to the playoffs along with the Red Sox.

It was an entertaining game that saw the Red Sox jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Swift Current battled back with two runs in the top of the second.

The score remained 3-2 Regina until Swift Current got a clutch hit in the fifth inning from Tyler Enns that drove in two runs and put the visitors in the lead for good.

The 612 baseball fans, who took in the final Red Sox regular season game, saw Andrew MacMahon make his fifth start of the season. MacMahon went three innings facing 16 Swift Current batters. He gave up two runs on five hits before giving way to Kal Daniels.

Tyler Vavra came in to pitch in the fifth inning and gave up the lead as Swift Current tagged him for two runs on two hits and a walk.

Regina did have a few offensive highlights in what can be called a tune up for the playoffs. Garrett Hall was two for two with a pair of RBIs, while Tanner Stokey was two for three at the dish.

The playoffs begin Sunday night as Regina hosts the Yorkton Cardinals in game one of the best of five first round series. Game two goes Monday night at Currie Field.

(Courtesy Outlaw Communications)

STAMPEDERS 25 ALOUETTES 22

CALGARY - Marquay McDaniel caught two touchdown passes as the Calgary Stampeders rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat the Montreal Alouettes 25-22 on Saturday.

McDaniel also threw a touchdown pass to Eric Rogers, while Rene Paredes kicked a field goal and a single for the Stamps (4-2), who lost 29-11 to the Als in Montreal on July 3.

Alouettes quarterback Rakeem Cato connected with S.J. Green for his lone touchdown pass. Cato threw three touchdowns against Calgary in his CFL debut.

Stefan Logan also scored a touchdown on a punt return for the Alouettes (2-3), while Boris Bede kicked a pair of field goals.

Bede helped Montreal open a 17-0 lead with a 37-yard field goal before Cato tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Green at 10:14 of the first quarter.

After the Stampeders went two-and-out on their next drive, Logan returned a Rob Maver punt 74 yards into the Calgary end zone to extend the Alouettes' lead.

(The Canadian Press)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MOSAIC PLACE RECAP: ESKIMOS 30 ROUGHRIDERS 5



EDMONTON (CP) - They are two teams going in completely different directions.

Matt Nichols threw two touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos won their fourth in a row with a 30-5 victory over the winless Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night.

The Eskimos (4-1) now sit in sole possession of first place in the Canadian Football League's West Division and haven't allowed a touchdown in two straight games.

Eskimos defensive back Pat Watkins, who had two interceptions including one for a touchdown, said the defence and the offence are really supporting each other.

"We feed off each other,'' he said. "When they make big plays then the defence is on the sidelines ready to get back on the field because we feel like we've got to show our offence that we're the best unit on the Edmonton staff.''

Edmonton head coach Chris Jones was also impressed with his team's defensive play.

"Five points, anytime you can hold them to five - unless you've got four or less - then you're probably happy,'' Jones said.

The loss kept Saskatchewan winless at 0-6.

"We made a lot of mental mistakes and took some bad penalties. When that is happening it is hard to move the football and get into scoring range,'' said Riders receiver Chris Getzlaf. "I'm pretty sure everybody in here is disappointed with where we are, but I think we have a great group of guys who are going to continue to stick together and fight together no matter what. Hopefully we can get this thing turned around.''

Edmonton started with a long and competent opening drive, capped off by a 27-yard TD pass from Nichols to Kenny Stafford. Nichols is the only remaining undefeated starting quarterback in the CFL this season.

The Eskimos added a 31-yard Grant Shaw field goal to lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Roughriders closed the score to 10-4 at the half with a punt single and a 34-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.

Saskatchewan's third-string quarterback Brett Smith finished the game completing 15 of 22 pass attempts for 132 yards and two interceptions as he took the place of injured QBs Darian Durant and Kevin Glenn.

The Riders recorded another punt single early in the third quarter before Edmonton responded with a 44-yard Shaw field goal.

The Eskimos found the end zone again with five minutes to play in the third, after Smith was picked off by Watkins, who took the ball back 46 yards for the score.

Smith was intercepted again by JC Sherritt on the next series, leading to a 14-yard field goal by Shaw to make it 23-5 for Edmonton.

The Eskimos continued to control the game six minutes into the fourth as a nice 31-yard pass and run by Shakir Bell set up a nine-yard passing TD from Nichols to Kendial Lawrence.

Nichols has won all four of his starts this season since taking over from the injured Mike Reilly.

Edmonton is on the road for its next two games, heading to B.C. to face the Lions next Thursday. The Riders are next in Toronto next Saturday to tackle the Argonauts.

Saskatchewan coach Corey Chamblin said he's not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

"It's not an eight-game season or a nine-game season. It's an 18-game season,'' he said. "I am built to fight to the end. The season is never lost. The Grey Cup may be lost, but we still have something to fight for, even if it is our pride.''


POSTGAME COMMENTS

HEAD COACH COREY CHAMBLIN

- At halftime we thought we had a chance.  It was there but like everything else, with those one or two plays it put his behind and put us too far to come back.

- That's his job (Chris Jones' blitzing).  If I was in his situation I'd do the same.  Walking in as a lame duck, they tried to put the fire out.

- We kept fighting, that's the only thing we can be happy about.  The guys aren't finger-pointing.  They're hanging in there trying to find a way to win.

- Offensively they were clicking for awhile.  As we build on D, we're building on offense too.  It's a never-ending cycle now.

- The biggest thing is, when you have a QB, everybody has to be positive.  You can't have mistakes around a young QB and then you push to make it better.  He did something to try and get us out of a hole, but we made too many mistakes around him.

- We're taking too many penalties.  Some are selfish and some are mental.  We have to hang in there and make the right plays.

- They loaded the box.  You don't want to run into a brickwall.

- Fight through it.  This is a tough situation and you have to fight through it.

DE JOHN CHICK

- I was proud of how the defense played today.  You don't like to give up seven on the first drive.  Lack of takeaways was a problem too but it was a good first step.

- It always feels good to get sacks but the scoreboard says something else.  You can always do more.  That's where you're at.  Stats are nice but shoot, I'd take a W over that any day.

- Absolutely.  I felt from the beginning of the season I need to lead.  As the leaders, we need to find a way to get more out of ourselves and emphasize what we need to do come game time.

K PAUL MCCALLUM

- This is a young team.  It was a veteran team in Vancouver.  We have a lot of injuries and mental mistakes.  We're shooting ourself in the foot and taking ourself out of scoring positions.  We have to keep plugging away.  It's not going to get any easier.  We have to stick together and keep fighting.

- I didn't even know (*he kicked his 700th career field goal).  That's pretty cool.  If I'd known that, I would've kept the ball.  It's a team sport so it's nice to do that but it puts a big damper on it when you don't come out with the victory.  I'm trying to keep the spirits up.  You can't listen to all the negative stuff.  We have to focus on what we can control which is working hard in practice and not making mistakes in the games.

- It was positive at halftime.  There wasn't a sense of urgency.  They scored on their opening drive but we hung in there.  I thought at halftime we just had to play smart, eliminate the penalties, and we'd be okay.

- Lawrence is a great returner and the guys did a phenomenal job covering.  With the way Ray's kicking the ball, you couldn't ask for anything better.

REDBLACKS SIGN MILO

OTTAWA-GATINEAU - The Ottawa REDBLACKS of the Canadian Football League made the following roster transactions today:

SIGNED national kicker Chris Milo to active roster (5'11", 205 lbs, Laval)

RELEASED international kicker Delbert Alvarado

TRANSFERRED national defensive lineman Vincent Desloges to the practice roster (from active roster)

The REDBLACKS return to practice on Monday, August 3 at TD Place from 11:15 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. The next game is Friday, August 7 at TD Place against the Montreal Alouettes. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.

RED SOX 7 CARDS 1

The Regina Red Sox extended their winning streak to three games with a 7-1 victory over the Yorkton Cardinals Friday night.

Regina broke the game open with four runs in the fourth inning and finished with seven runs on 10 hits while Yorkton had a run on four hits.

Red Sox starter Parks Smithey was brilliant on the mound. He shutout the Cards, giving up only three hits and three walks while striking out three over seven innings of solid work.

It was a total team effort on offence as 11 of the 12 Red Sox hitters reached base during the game. Local product, Jordan Schulz was one of the team hitting stars going one for three with a walk and two runs scored.

Regina now 23-24, will round out the regular season Saturday night at Currie Field against Swift Current.

(Courtesy Outlaw Communications)