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Thursday, September 3, 2015

DYCE ERA BEGINS


WEDNESDAY PRACTICE NOTES

- The smiles on the peoples' faces in the photo above illustrate the mood at Wednesday's Roughrider practice on the first full day of the O'Day/Dyce regime in Saskatchewan.  While some coaches and players admitted to "mixed emotions" during the interview session afterwards, the renewed spirit was clearly evident throughout the workout.

- It started with the massive speakers which were wheeled out near the playing surface.  They'd soon blare loud rock music during the team's daily stretching period, led off by Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart.

- The exchange between injured quarterback Darian Durant and his new head coach in the photo above shows the support the Face of the Franchise has for Dyce.

- If you want a straight-from-the-heart assessment of what's going on with the team, you can always stick your microphone in the face of running back Jerome Messam.  The team's leading rusher and six-year veteran out of Graceland University always wears his heart on his sleeve and has become a go-to quote.  Here are some of his comments from after the workout:

ON MONDAY'S FIRINGS OF COREY CHAMBLIN AND BRENDAN TAMAN

JM:  "Honestly I didn't see BT coming.  We kind of had the feeling after the game that some changes were coming.  It's tough man.  That's the nature of the beast and just how the business goes.

"Just the way we performed.  We just got beat by a team we feel we should've beat handily.  There were just some things going on.  There were some things said after the game that I can't really get into but guys kind of had that feeling."

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MUSIC?

JM:  "I don't know it but it was a good playlist!  It had us flying around through (the stretching period).  It was great energy.  It was just an all-around good feel today."

IS THE MUSIC HERE TO STAY?

JM:  "I hope so.  It was cool today.  It was a good feel.  Guys are re-energized and we were focused.  Guys were out there playing free, not worrying about job security or pissing certain people off.  We just want to play football."

"The difference out here today is guys just feel they can play free.  Guys were tight (before).  I feel like it kind of trickled down from up top down on the players.  So now there's no more worrying about jobs, there's no more worrying about our record, it's just play ball."

WHY WERE YOU TIGHT UNDER CHAMBLIN?

JM:  "We wanted to play well.  We wanted to play well for our coach.  He expected a lot from us.  I think it was tough on him, with all the pressure that was being put on him and it kind of reflected in his demeanour."

------

MAKE IT QUICK

Defensive coordinator Greg Quick is in his first season with the Roughriders and like everybody else, never saw an 0-9 start coming nor the firings of Chamblin and Taman.  He offered his thoughts on the current state of the team:

GQ:  "It's the next day in the process, right?  We're moving forward and we had a great day.  You always wonder when there's change like this how the players are gonna react and I thought they've handled it very maturely and with great professionalism.  They have some heart-felt sentiment but they understand what their job is to do as a coaching staff.  I thought it was a great day.  We got a lot of work in and we move forward."

Quick is obviously a guy who feels a strong connection to Chamblin and clearly wasn't entirely comfortable with the moves which were made on Monday.

GQ:  "Corey's the guy that gave me a call on New Year's Eve and said, 'Let's meet and see what we can do'.  I've got mixed emotions because I've come to love the man.  He's been good to me, been good to my family.  We're 20-30 years separate (in age) but we're kindred souls in a way.  It's tough.  But also this job is about doing your job.  One thing I've learned the past 35 years is I'm going to come in and do my job every day and I'm going to do it well.

------

- When the smoke clears - and it already has for Bob Dyce - the job in front of this team is a big one.  They're facing many of the same problems which Chamblin and Taman had to encounter.  Middle linebacker Jake Doughty was in a left knee brace, defensive tackle Brandon Tennant was in a sling and starters Levy Adock and Chris Getzlaf were in street clothes.  They're not going to be able to simply wave a wand and have a stacked deck.

However with the renewed optimsim surrounding the club and the clear new direction, perhaps this club's luck is about to change.

- The Riders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-6) in Sunday's Labour Day Classic 49.  Saskatchewan holds an all-time record of 32-16 against their prairie rivals on this weekend including a 35-30 victory last year.

- There will be plenty of coverage to come in the days ahead as we preview the match.

RP

CKRM'S WEEK 11 CFL PICKS 2015

SCHEDULE
Thursday: BC at Montreal
Sunday: Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
Monday: Toronto at Hamilton
  Edmonton at Calgary

ANNCR/RECORD/PICKS
BALL (23-17): BC - SK - TOR - CGY
PHIL (22-18): TBD
SCRUFFY (22-18): MTL - SK - TOR - HAM
R.P. (21-19): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
LYNCH (20-20): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
SHARKY (19-21): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
SCHULTZ (19-21): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
LUC (19-21): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
ABOU (18-22): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
COIN (18-21): BC - WPG - HAM - EDM

* Winner gets a $50 gift card to the Press Box Sports Bar.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BIDSY.COM UNDER THE HELMET: BRENDON LABATTE


#57 BRENDON LABATTE

POSITION: Left Guard
BORN: Sept. 12, 1986, Weyburn, SK
COLLEGE: University of Regina
HT/WT: 6'4", 320 lbs
DRAFT: 1st Round, 6th Overall, 2008
YRS PRO: 8
PRO TEAMS: Blue Bombers, Roughriders
NOTABLE: 2013 CFL Most Outstanding Lineman

FAVOURITE NFL TEAM: Dallas Cowboys
FAVOURITE ATHLETE:  Larry Allen
FAVOURITE TYPE OF MUSIC: Country
FAVOURITE ARTIST: George Strait
LAST CONCERT ATTENDED:  Motley Crue in Saskatoon
LAST MOVIE SEEN: Jurassic World
FAVOURITE ALL-TIME MOVIE: The Patriot
FAVOURITE ACTOR/ACTRESS:  Pass
FAVOURITE TV SHOW:  Gold Rush
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT:  The Keg
FAVE MEAL: Terriyaki Classic, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Caesar Salad
FAVOURITE MEAL TO MAKE: Chicken or ribs in the smoker
FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT: Dominican Republic
HARPER, TRUDEAU OR MULCAIR: Harper
HOBBIES/PASTIMES: Racing cars, hanging with family.
CELEBRITY CRUSH: Don't have one anymore.  I'm married.
MENTOR: Dan Goodspeed and Alex Gauthier

* Bidsy.com is the website where local businesses and their customers meet.  The customer lists the goods or services the need, then businesses bid on it.

www.bidsy.com

BREAKING: ESKS TRADE QB NICHOLS TO BLUE BOMBERS


The Edmonton Eskimo Football Club has agreed to trade quarterback Matt Nichols to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in exchange for a conditional 7th round pick in the 2017 CFL Draft.

Nichols originally signed as a free agent on Oct. 13, 2010. In 45 career games (12 starts), he completed 270-of-443 passes for 3,386 yards and 19 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. He also rushed 36 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.

RIDERS RELEASE SUNSERI

On Tuesday afternoon the Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the release of quarterback Tino Sunseri.

The Roughriders hit the practice field on Wednesday at 11:30 am for Day 1 of the work week with interim head coach Bob Dyce in charge.

The Roughriders (0-9) host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-6) in the Labour Day Classic on Sunday at 2:00 pm on TSN and the CKRM Roughrider Radio Network.

Bob Dyce will be the special guest on 620 CKRM SportsCage's Coaches Show Wednesday at 5:00 pm.  Also on the show are Paul Lapolice from the CFL on TSN, Regina Thunder head coach Scott MacAulay and NFL Insider Jim "Clubber" Lang.

THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS

I hope this Wednesday is treating you well. What a week it has been so let's get right to it.

I'm going to start with the Riders because it is everything, everyone is talking about right now but I will be brief. Not surprised with the firing of Corey Chamblin. Like every fan and media person who follows this team it was very obvious he had changed since winning the Grey Cup. However, he brought the team to, and won the biggest game in the franchise's history in 2013 and he will be remembered for that.

He's a good coach but lost his way in my humble opinion. As for Brenden Taman, I was a little surprised to see him go as well. I don't know what happened behind closed doors but I have always thought BT had done a good job with this team and again he manufactured the 2013 Grey Cup champion squad. I had no relationship whatsoever with Chamblin but with Taman I spent more than a few times sitting in his office just shooting the wind and always appreciated how good of a guy he is.

They don't make many guys like that and I wish him all the best.

---

Now on to the Regina Pats where I have spent the bulk of the last four days covering training camp. First off the new way of doing things is a breath of fresh air. The rookies got a chance to prove themselves over the weekend and into Monday while the vets will not skate until later today. It wasn't the usual long drawn out training camp and it gave the scouts and coaches a chance to see the young guys, decide who to sign and who to carry forward to this weeks rookie showcase at the Cooperators Arena.

There is some really good young talent here in Regina. The guys you would expect to look good have, Jake Leschyshyn and Jake Elmer have taken a step. Jared Freadrich will make this team in my opinion, he was the best defenceman in rookie camp, defenceman Brady Pouteau is not far behind either. I was also really impressed with Lane Zablocki who came over in the Jesse Gabrielle trade, he reminds me of Morgan Klimchuk in the way he skates and has some good skill.

He will likely play with Sam Steel to start the year. Gary Haden is the front runner to make the team in the 16-year-old forward group in my opinion. Pretty damn good for a 9th round pick, the kid can skate, he can shoot and seems to have the smarts too. Riley Woods has impressed, the former Pat Canadian is coming off a big year and has a good shot to make the team this year. The Estevan Bruins are hoping he doesn't but I am really pulling for the kid to make the jump to the WHL. He has skill and speed to spare.

Russian defenceman Nikolai Knyzhov is a lot better than I expected him to be. Skates very well, has skill with the puck, he is raw but will develop into a good player. Goaltender Jordan Hollett got better as the weekend went on and played very well in the Blue and White game on Monday night, my guess is there will be three goalies with the team to start the year before a decision or a trade is made. Trygve Many Guns and Erik Gardiner are other guys with a chance to stick in Regina this year. Lots of decisions to come and the pre-season will decide who gets the limited spots available. There are currently 35 players still in Regina including the returning guys.

The rookie showcase starts tomorrow night at the Cooperators Arena when the Pats take on the Calgary Hitmen at 7 o'clock. Daniel Fink and I will be broadcasting the game live on 620 CKRM with the pre-game starting at 6:35. Puck drop at 7.

---

The Regina Thunder had another record setting day on the weekend in Edmonton when they beat the Huskies 76-9. The 76 points set a club record. That after they set a record the week before with 63 points. It sets up a great matchup this weekend Saturday in Saskatoon against the Hilltops who are also 3 and oh and have also beat up on their opposition in the opening three weeks.

Here is a recap of the week in the PFC courtesy of Ryan Watters on cjfl.org.

COLTS 38 - WILDCATS 14

Saturday night the Colts played their second straight game in Edmonton, beating the Wildcats 38-14 using the run game to control the offence.

Six different players carried the rock with Xavier Ramsay carrying the load with 20 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown.  Quarterback John Kiesman rushed four times for 68 yards and had a pair to touchdowns.  In all the Colts rushed for 276 yards.

Through the air Kiesman completed just nine passes for 138 yards and threw a 37 yard TD pass to Aaron Roemmele.

The Colts “D” was led by Akida Lewis who had a game high nine tackles and a sack.  Colton Burr had a pair of sacks while Owen Redlick recovered two fumbles, picked off a pass and had two tackles.  Jayden Lawson also intercepted a pass and Reyd Kessler recovered a fumble.  The Colts defence created seven turnovers.

Next weekend the Colts (2-1) will stay on the road and visit the Winnipeg Rifles (0-3) part of the PFC’s Rivalry Week.

The Edmonton Wildcats struggled against the Colts in Week 3, compiling just 81 yards on the ground and 270 yards of total offence.

Quarterback Jordan Olson finished 6 of 17 for just 90 yards and threw an interception, before Colton Hippe’s 11 of 16 for 162 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Ronnie Oling.  The top Cats receiver was Landyn Vick who hauled in four passes for a game high 101 yards.

Kicker Ryan Smith was good on 2 of 3 field goals.

Defensively the Wildcats created five turnovers as Tony Savchuk picked off two passes, Jayden Dalke recovered a fumble, as did Jonathan Harke.

The Wildcats (1-2) will play their city rivals the Huskies (0-3) on Saturday night at 7:00pm part of the PFC’s Rivalry Week.

HILLTOPS 65 - RIFLES 9

For the second straight week the Saskatoon Hilltops dominated the Winnipeg Rifles, staying undefeated with a 65-9 victory behind a very balanced attack.

The Hilltops set the tone  very early as Bryant Sackney took the opening kick-off 100 yards the other direction for a touchdown.

Four Hilltop quarterbacks finished 21 of 35 for 226 yards.  Starter Jared Andreychuck did most of the damage finishing 16 of 24 for 211 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Evan Kopchynski and Logan Fischer out of the backfield.  Evan Turkingons and Chad Braun each caught five passes each.

Fischer led the ground game with 10 carries for 85 yards and a score.  Both Des Vessey and Adam Marchart also caught TD passes.

The Hilltops defence also flexed their muscle creating seven turnovers and eight sacks.  Cole Benkic intercepted a pass returning 10 yards for a touchdown while Tom Schnitzler picked up a fumble and returned it 10 yards for a major.  Bobby Ehman had four tackles and an interception to lead the Hilltops.  Blake Hermann collected three sacks and Connor Guillet, Tyrell Hering, Schnitzler, Blake Adams and Matt Kozun each had a sack.

Saturday the Saskatchewan rivalry ignites again as the Hilltops (3-0) host the Regina Thunder (3-0) part of the PFC’s Rivalry Week.

The Winnipeg Rifles got behind the 8-ball early allowing the opening kick-off to go 100 yards the other direction and were down 21-7 after the first quarter.

Quarterback Jamie Ybarra Jr. finished 5 of 8 and threw a touchdown pass to Ian Lee. However he also threw his Conference leading fifth interception. Back-up Jonathan Remple came off the bench and completed 13 of 25 for 160 yards and threw a pick.

On the ground Blair Mattes carried 10 times for 27 yards, while Ybarra scampered three times for 34 yards.

The Rifles defence was on the field for the majority of the day.  Defensive back Brandan Gates finished with a game high nine tackles.  Evan Vitt tallied a pair of sacks and Andrew Ricard picked off a pass.

On Saturday night the Rifles (0-3) host the Calgary Colts (2-1) at 7:00pm part of their Alumni Game.

THUNDER 76 - HUSKIES 9

The Regina Thunder kept pace with the defending champs, staying undefeated blasting the Edmonton Huskies 76-9 in their first road game.

The Thunder compiled 722 yards of total offence, including 418 through the air.  Quarterback Jaeden Marwick had a career game completing 18 of 22 for 289 yards and five touchdowns.  He also ran for a TD. Back-up Sawyer Buettner was a perfect 9 of 9 for 129 yards and threw a TD as well.

Kasim Ocaya hauled in a game high seven passes for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Kristopher Calcutt also caught two touchdown passes, while Preston Bews and Thomas Bresciani each made a touchdown reception.

On the ground Colton Klassen was a force carrying 16 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns.  Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette rushed 10 times for 83 yards and two majors.

The Thunder “D” created five turnovers highlighted by a 76 yard return on an interception by Marcus Hall.  Dustin Erbach also picked off a pass and Ethan Hautz recovered a fumble.  Erbach and Taylor Mayer each had five tackles.

Saturday night the Thunder (3-0) will lock up with the Saskatoon Hilltops (3-0) at SMF Field at 7:00pm in the PFC Game of the Week.  (#cjflrivalry).

The Edmonton Huskies scored all nine of their points in the second quarter as kicker Cole Sabourin connected on three field goals.  He is now a perfect 5-5 this season.

The Huskies offence was led by quarterback Bradley Launhardt who completed 13 of 29 for 209 yards.   Nine different receivers caught balls, led by Dylan Stanton and his four receptions.  James Aldred had a team high 71 yards.

On the ground Jimmie Airey rushed 10 times for 80 yards.

The “D” was led by Brandon Mellen who had nine tackles and Jassen Brown who had six.  Michael Getzinger intercepted a pass for the lone Huskies turnover and both Stephan Paleniuk and Brown each had a sack.

The Huskies (0-3) will host the Wildcats (1-2) on Saturday night at Clarke Park part of the PFC’s Rivalry Week.

---

QUICK HITS

- Big congrats to the 2015 Regina Sports Hall of Fame Inductees. They include former Regina Pats Rich Preston and Larry Wright. As well our statistician on Rider broadcasts, John Hoffman went in as a builder. A great guy and well deserved. The induction ceremony will take place on October 8th at Evraz Place. Hope you can make it.

- Hearing rumours out of Moose Jaw that the Warriors are not going to be trading star forward Brayden Point any time soon, if at all. I get the team needs to get back to the post season but from my standpoint he is worth more to the Warriors being traded to Red Deer or Brandon than he does to get maybe a 1st, or to stretch things, a 2nd round playoff appearance. Point has played upwards of 40 minutes a night for that team for the last three years and done absolutely everything. He deserves a chance to win. You would think the Warriors want to build around their two top six 1st round picks from this summer. Again it's just a rumour and I'm not a GM but we've seen this same story in Regina before with Jordan Eberle, Colton Teubert, Jordan Weal etc.

- The Toronto Blue Jays found a way to win last night against the red hot Cleveland Indians. Cleveland has done a heck of a job shutting down the Jays bats in the first two games but Toronto generated three runs on sacrifice flies and then got the walk off homer in extra innings from Ryan Goins. It is good to see the team relying on good pitching and manufacturing runs the old fashion way.

- I don't want to hear another word about deflategate. This saga has carried on too long. What a waste of tax payers money having this ordeal go to federal court. My goodness.

- College Football starts this weekend! Enough said.

That's all I've got for today. Talk to you from the rink tomorrow night!

Phil
@PhilTheThrill18

PATS HOST PRESEASON TOURNEY

The Regina Pats Hockey Club is proud to host the Regina Pats Rookie Showcase opening Thursday, September 3 through Saturday, September 5 at the Co-operators Arena.

Single game tickets are $5 each and available at the door starting one hour prior to puck drop.  A tournament package is available for just $20 and includes access to all five games.  With a Season Ticket Holder VIP Card (part of the Season Ticket Booklet), full access is just $15 for the three day event.  All passes are available at the Pats Office or at the doors ahead of the Pats’ first game of the tournament against Calgary.

Teams attending the Regina Pats Rookie Showcase include the Moose Jaw Warriors, Calgary Hitmen and Prince Albert Raiders.

Regina Pats Rookie Showcase Schedule

Thursday, September 3 - Pats vs Calgary - 7:00pm
Friday, September 4 - Calgary vs Moose Jaw - 3:00pm
Friday, September 4 - Pats vs Calgary - 7:00pm
Saturday, September 5 - Calgary vs Prince Albert - 2:00pm
Saturday, September 5 - Pats vs Moose Jaw - 7:00pm

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)