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Monday, August 17, 2015



1 - BE LIKE MIKE:  Mike McCullough (pictured above) retired in May after an 11-year career as a linebacker with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  He was a two-time Grey Cup champion and now works as an investment consultant with Investors Group and as an analyst on Rider Radio 620 CKRM.  During his Plaza of Honor-worthy career the Kingston, ON product served as the Rider player rep with the CFLPA and as a team captain.

He knows his stuff and his reputation is impeccable.

On Friday McCullough popped by CKRM's SportsCage to join Scott Schultz and me to discuss the plight of the 0-7 Roughriders who will hit the practice field on Tuesday for the first time after a bye in Week 8.  Saturday the Riders host the 5-2 Calgary Stampeders (5:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM).

Here are Mike's thoughts:

"People are calling for Chamb's head.  I don't know if that's the right call," McCullough surmised.  "Bringing in a coach halfway through the season, to me, has always been ridiculous.  I think the numbers show that over the 60 times it's happened in the last 60 years, the winning percentage barely increases.

"It doesn't do anything for the locker room so I definitely don't think they should fire Chamb."

But he didn't stop there.  McCullough offered a solution for the team's problems, particularly on defense.

"However it would go a long way in my opinion - and it's just my opinion - and it would go a long way for the media and the fans, if Chamb were essentially to hand the defensive coordinator reins over to Greg Quick maybe.  Basically because everybody wants something different!  Everybody wants a change.  You demoting yourself is about as big of a change you can get.

"It could just be for appearance sake and he could still do the playcalling, whatever it is, but at least you could appease some of the media and some of the fans by making a decision of that magnitude."

I recall hearing that suggestion somewhere before.  Oh ya, it was here on the MMG a few weeks ago.  No matter, McCullough thinks a move such as this would be in the best interests of the football club, both inside and out.

"It's a big move but if he does that, what else can the fans ask for?" McCullough concluded.  "What else can the media ask for?  He's not going to demote himself from being head coach.  That would be absolutely ridiculous.  But if he did demote himself as D.C., he's done the biggest move possible."

2 - HAVING SAID THAT:  This 2015 Roughriders season has been so complex to grasp.  On one hand you can stay up all night tallying where all the mistakes have been made and say "What if?"  On the other hand, you can say the Riders have been dealt a crappy hand of cards and they've done the best they could under the circumstances.  That hasn't been lost on McCullough either.

"You try not to use excuses but you've lost Darian Durant, you've lost Kevin Glenn and nothing against Brett Smith, really, he's a child," McCullough continued.  "He's 22!  Two starts?  I don't expect him to win five of the last 11 games.  You can't expect him to come in after having just graduated and put a winning record on the board.  It's not feasible, it's not possible.  If you'd have done that to Durant in 2006 it would've been the same story.   He probably would've gone 0-12.

"So give the kid a break.  He's shown some moxy.  I like his tools.  Who knows if he'll be the QB of the future or a dud?  But at least give him the opportunity and he's shown some good signs."

That brings up the next conundrum facing Canada's Team:  when veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn comes back from injury in the next few weeks, do you put the ball back in his hands or keep on with Brett Smith?

That's a delicate matter.

3 - PLEASE HELP OUT MIKE:  On August 27, 2015, STARS Air Ambulance will rally a group of influential members from the community (including former Roughrider Mike McCullough) for the first annual Rescue on the Prairie STARS fundraising event. Participants will dawn flight suits, be dropped by helicopter to an undisclosed, remote location and only have their smartphones to help them get back home. Throughout the day, participants will compete against each other in a number of survival challenges, including a race to see who can be the first to raise $50,000 or more in donations. Getting help from their family, friends and colleagues will be key to their success. Once players accomplish their goal, they will be ‘rescued’ by helicopter and delivered back to civilization.

McCullough certainly doesn't have to do this, but he's obliged because that's the kind of community guy he is.  To donate to Mike's cause, please click and donate here:

4 - SCHULTZIE SAYS:  Former Roughriders All-Star defensive tackle Scott Schultz is a millionaire businessman in this town (in case you forgot, just ask him!), and a football analyst on CKRM.  As part of our discussion on the Riders on Friday, the Moose Jaw, SK product weighed in on the Roughriders.

"One of the things in the football business that's very important is self-assessment, whether you're a player, a coach or a management type," Schultz reasoned.  "And you would think that, if you're being honest, and everybody looks in the mirror, and what we're talking about is, can you self-assess and be a big enough person to do just that?  Make an adjustment, take a step back?"

Schultz was referring to the suggestion that Corey Chamblin relinquish the defensive coordinator duties.  However he went even further into the subject.

"I would like to think that the head of this team is doing that, and hopefully they will.  It doesn't make sense.  You see there's very few people who've worn the double hat (head coach and coordinator) and had success.  Chamblin's abilities, I would say, and I've never been coached by him, his talents would be better served as a one-job head coach managing the orchestra of the team rather than micromanaging every little detail.  That seems to have been a problem.

"There have been coaching mistakes that have happened in the first seven games that you can argue might not have happened if there wasn't the dual focus of the head coach and defensive coordinator.

"These aren't critical statements to hurt anybody or pile on.  Those are just critical, looking at the situation comments, and you can take them as you want."

5 - NARCO SAYS:  Canadian Football Hall of Famer and Rougrhiders great Don Narcisse is an avid listener to the SportsCage.  During our discussion on Thursday about the Roughriders being the most-penalized team in the CFL, Narcisse texted in the following suggestion:

"Rod in 1997 we had a penalty plan," Narcisse wrote.  "For every penalty you take, it's a dollar per yard.  It's a small amount of money but it made the players accountable.  We used the fine money to buy a stereo for the locker room at the end of the season.  For example, a 15-yard penalty costs $15.  It really worked Rod.

"And it has to be the veteran players that get the other players involved.  Keep the coaches out of it.  As a player you hate to give up money no matter how much it is."

I shouldn't have to remind you that Narcisse and the 1997 Roughriders went all the way to the Grey Cup.

Mike McCullough and Scott Schultz were asked their opinions on Narco's suggestion and they both thought it was a great idea, however they agreed it has to be "Players Only".  McCullough said by CFLPA guidelines, coaches cannot institute a fine system such as this.

6 - JUST HAVING FUN:  The Roughriders may be 0-7 but their marketing department is still cheeky.  They've put up a billboard in Ottawa in advance of the August 30 game at TD Place between the RedBlacks and Roughriders.

While the Riders are getting flamed in the nation's capital for such a brazen move, I think it can be chalked up to being "all in good fun".  We're not performing brain surgery here.

The billboard certainly has caught the attention of the RedBlacks, as evidenced by their reaction on Twitter over the weekend (see the photo on the right).

Meanwhile that August 30 game between Saskatchewan and Ottawa has been announced as a sellout at the 24,000-seat TD Place Stadium, the 12th sellout in franchise history.

“We’re humbled by the way Ottawa has embraced the REDBLACKS and made our game days at TD Place such a spectacular experience,” said Jeff Hunt, President of the REDBLACKS parent company, OSEG Sports.  “#RNation was the talk of the country for the enthusiasm shown during our win at home last weekend and I can hardly wait to be part of the celebration at the next game and every game left in the season.”

The hilarious thing is all the barbs going back and forth between these two teams but they don't play for TWO weeks!  There's still a very important game in between for the Green & White, this Saturday at home against Calgary.

7 - THE POWER OF THE MEDIA:  While surfing the internet for NFL news articles over the weekend, one story caught my eye.  Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan said it was the media that got him fired as head coach of the New York Jets, not his record.

“We talk like brothers,” Ryan said of Jets owner Woody Johnson. “And I know Woody never wanted to fire me. I could have been his coach for 20 years, that’s what Woody wanted. There’s no question Woody wanted that.”

But he said he couldn’t have stayed in New York this season.

“There’s no chance that he could have brought in another GM and kept me again. There’s no way. It wouldn’t have worked in New York. They weren’t going to allow it. The media wouldn’t allow it. It wasn’t going to work.”

Instead, after a 4-12 finish last season, both Ryan and general manager John Idzik were fired.

“We’re in the win business … and we’re not winning,” Johnson said at the time.

Does the media really have this much power?  I think we're getting too much credit.

8 - FEELING JOBBED:  The two most high-profile signings in the CFL over the past two years both came from the Montreal Alouettes: receiver Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson and defensive end Michael Sam.  Unfortunately - for different reasons - neither player got to appear in Mosaic Stadium in the second half of the season.  Chad Johnson was scratched for Montreal's game in Saskatchewan in 2014 because of a concussion while Sam scratched himself on Friday, walking away from the Alouettes for a second time.

It's a shame because we haven't seen such noteworthy import players come into Regina with opposing teams since Ricky Williams and the Toronto Argonauts in 2006 (with apologies to B.C.'s Austin Collie).  Incidentally, it was Mike McCullough who ended Ricky Williams' CFL experiment by breaking his arm in the first half of that game.  However Williams recoved to play five more seasons in the NFL before calling it quits and going backpacking.

In the case of Sam, we likely haven't heard the last of him although his signing by Montreal GM Jim Popp didn't yield nearly the results he'd hoped.  It didn't translate to wins and, near as I can tell, didn't sell many extra tickets either.

What a sad story.  Pro football's first openly-gay player only wanted to be treated like everybody else but in the end, he didn't act like everybody else.  Leaving training camp to deal with the break-up with his fiance was scorned by players across the CFL.  Surely they wouldn't walk out of training camp to deal with a break-up themselves?  Or least, that's what they say.

I've heard stories of Sam's antics from his St. Louis Rams teammates which have really made me question his motives.  They weren't reported in the St. Louis media so I won't publicize it here.

But we wish the kid well.  Clearly he has a lot on his mind.

9 - THE THUNDER ROLLS:  The PFC's Regina Thunder was the first home team to win a football game at Mosaic Stadium this year and they did it Saturday night with a 49-32 victory over the Winnipeg Rifles in Week 1.  The Thunder rolled up 227 rushing yards on a chilly night.  You can see the Thunder in action in Week 2 when they host the Edmonton Wildcats Sunday at 2:00 pm at Mosaic Stadium.  Luc Mullinder is the Thunder's defensive line coach and he says they're the "best D-line in the country!"

Starting Thunder quarterback Jaeden Marwick left Saturday's game with what I'm told is a thumb injury but coach Scott MacAulay says it's not serious.

Meanwhile Mike Gibson's University of Regina Rams opened training camp on Sunday at the U of R in the dawn of a new era.  The former Roughrider offensive line coach has certainly brought an enthusiastic vibe to the Rams and he'll be a weekly guest in the SportsCage (Tuesdays at 4:35 pm).  I asked Gibson if the CIS has adopted any of the CFL's new rules and his response via text message was, "No thank God ... lol".  He quickly followed that up with, "Come out to practice some time."  We certainly will.

And Gibson still refuses to refer to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies by name, preferring the term, "that school up north".  I love it.  Stoke the fire.

10 - GOOD NIGHT RED SOX:  The curtain came down on the 2015 Regina Red Sox season on Sunday afternoon by virtue of a 4-3 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Bulls.  The Bulls completed a sweep of the best-of-five WMBL championship series with the victory at Currie Field.  However what a remarkable story the 2015 Red Sox were, overcoming a dreadful start which included a nine game losing streak before rallying just in time to go all the way to the league final.  Hats off to a magnificent job done by skipper Scottie Douglas, GM Bernie Eiswirth, President Gary Brotzel and all the volunteers.  See you next year!


Instagram: ridervoice


Anonymous said...

A team in serious trouble at 0-7, about to be 0-8 putting up needless embarrassing expensive billboards in other cities while taking a vacation need to get their priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

More Riders Jib Jab from X players will not constitute a W in the Win column we need these players that are on the field to stand up for themselves and play football like they know they can do. Let the Players do the talking amongst themselves and leave Chamblin do his job . He is doing everything that he can do and it is not him that keeps taking the stupid penalties that some of these players are taking .

ReginaRed said...

Canada's team. I have lived in Ft. Mac and watched games in Edmonton and Vancouver. Saw lots of green sweaters but never met anybody that was not origally from Sakatchewan. Saskatchewan are everywhere. Doesn't that make the Riders Saskatchewan' team?
Recently been to Blue Jays game in Seattle, nearly 3000 fans wearing Jays hats or jersey', not one was from Toronto. Mostly from all parts of Western Canada. Same with games from Minnesota, ONT, MB and SK fans. That is why the Blue Jays are truly Canada's Team. Rod, Canadian fans went crazy for the Jays in 93 and 94, you may not remember but the headline in one paper when they won the World Series, the world series moved north of the border, now Canada's Team!

Anonymous said...

so why bring up the the sam "stories" whats the point? just to say you know something we dont lol

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Schultz didn't suggest that the players should just quit on their teammates. Just like he did.

Anonymous said...

I agree with ReginaRed.... Rider fans don't actually travel to other cities. The rider fans in other stadiums consist of those who have moved away from sask. Actually kind of depressing.

Rod Pedersen said...

I think we've all known that for decades.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Personally think the Rider fans need to do a little more in this city than worry about Ottawa's fan base. Even the most rabid fans don't seem to care about this season any longer and I for one don't think the riders will hit the 30k attendance # moving forward for the remainder of the schedule.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

So the Riders are aren't really Canada's team ..... but the Saskatchewan-quitters team.

Maybe Scott Schultz is qualified to offer his opinion on the Riders then.

Anonymous said...

Is Taman made of Teflon? Why are you questioning McCullough and Schultz about Chamblin but not Taman? They both need to be replaced.

Rod Pedersen said...

I asked them about the team and that's the direction they went.

John Moore said...

Narcisse's idea sounds really good, wondering if having the type of leadership on the team he referred to that would have to bring this up may be missing from the team now. When you think of the vets on that team and compare it to the vets on this team can you see an equal level of leadership needed to get all the players on board for this to work? Who would u say is at that level? Or is this one of the problems on this team...veteran leadership. I say that because the guys I would of thought would be the team leaders are the ones that are either taking the penalties or don't seem to be making a 100% effort on the field.

CM said...

Season is a writeoff. Will be interesting to see what the BOD decides and the type of quality GM they target.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with the first anon!!

Anonymous said...

Ill never be a Rams fan. From "the knee" to challenging the Huskies to a game before the huskies season was over in 1996 (rams hadn't moved to CIS yet), to meeting the huskies at mid field during their opening. If that's how Gibson wants to play it, then so be it. It will bring the rivalry to thus decade. The Huskies will be ready. You've talked the talk, now walk the walk. I know until the huskies win a playoff game, shut it. :)

Russ from Saskatoon.

Anonymous said...

Mike McCullough said, "You try not to use excuses but you've lost Darian Durant, you've lost Kevin Glenn"

Excuse me but I think the problem is the defense. Our offense was good enough to win some games until Kevin was injured. If the D had stepped up we'd have a few wins.


Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!!

I did this, I did that. I'm the greatest in the world and if you don't like it too bad. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Anonymous said...

Question RP:

I have heard this story from about 3 or 4 people and I have a tough time believing it because no one would be that idiotic.

Did the group in charge of hiring Mike Gibson do any checks on him? Did they talk to anyone in Ottawa or anyone in CFL circles about whether or not this guy was the right guy to take the program over.

I have heard they did not. If that is the case, there are a lot of people at the University who should be very red-faced.

He could be a good coach, he could be a bad coach, but don't you have to call around to see what type of individual you are getting?>

Anonymous said...

any P.E.D. tests outta huskies camp yet? better start now and get on top of it

Anonymous said...

I was at a Jays game recently too and met quite a few fans from Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, they were all wearing rider jerseys for some reason?

Anonymous said...

It seems evident of late that the Lions and Bombers are not very talented teams and will struggle to get wins going forward. Montreal and Ottawa are also very mediocre so I think a cross-over to the west could be avoided.

Therefore, I think there is still an SMALL chance that the Riders could squeak into third place if they can get their shite together in the latter half of the season.

Therefore, it would make sense to return the offense to Kevin Glenn when he is healthy until the point in time when a play-off spot is mathematically impossible.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Mike Gibson is the Ram's coach going forward, so get over it already - sheesh, get a life!

Anonymous said...

I hope Marty Klyne and the marketing team at the Pats office really take advantage of this dismal Rider season, build of last year's playoff success and go after the wavering rider fan who may instead spend their money at the Brand Centre rather than mosaic.

I for one have been a season ticket holder of both the Pats and the Riders and usually I only take in a few Pats games until the Rider season is done. Now, I find myself donating my Rider tickets to local charities and excited to take in Pats games.

Good luck to the Pats brass as Rookie camp is about to kick-off, can't wait for the season.


Anonymous said...

Corey Chamblin is the Riders coach going forward too. GET OVER IT!!!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to a healthy and productive Sam Steele and a winning year for the Regina Pats!

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder for all you NFL lovers - MMQB, Peter King's blog site, has him touring and reporting from the NFL training camps. His blog has a more accessible format from last year, in my opinion, and is a great source of information on the happenings south of our border. Once cuts start, there should be another fine pool of talent for the Riders to delve into as part of rebuilding for 2016.

Regarding the ongoing debate on the Rider coaching staff's future etc. I am reminded of a saying my old Granddad used to have when people he sat with at Regina Roughrider games with were unhappy with the direction taken by Piffles Taylor when he was coach in 1924 - "Opinions are like assholes, everyone knows one!"

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

"A team in serious trouble at 0-7, about to be 0-8 putting up needless embarrassing expensive billboards in other cities while taking a vacation need to get their priorities straight."

Comment reeks with a lack of intelligence. You talk like you know something about marketing but clearly are clueless. If you actually paid attention, you will see the billboard is for the Roughriders store. With all the ex-patriots across Canada it is brilliant to advertise to them and create conversation around the game. Also, do you know what a billboard costs for a couple weeks? About the equivalent of three jersey sales. Big deal!

The Riders are the smallest professional sports market in Canada and have the third largest brand. My guess it is forward thinking that gets this not reactionary like those on this comment section. I would also think that these were designed and purchased well ahead of the season so the record is an unfortunate paradox within the ad.

Congrats to the marketing department for once again lapping the league in progressive thinking!

Shirley White said...

I think if not right now then for next year Chamblin should be replaced. He has a Selfish, Stubborn attitude. He does Not appear to take advice well which makes him unteachable. Great people in any field realize they have to continuing learning and seek advice when needed.

Anonymous said...

That billboard actually highlights the Rider' attitude toward this season. They feel no shame at all for being terrible as long as they are still selling jerseys and beer coozies. That sign is actually more of an FU to riders fans than anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Really! You guess? You think? That marketing dollar billboard waste not going to work to entice a green crowd. REDBLACKS fan base in full force wearing their colors red/black/white with adorned R logo on the helmet while breaking the decibel hearing levels right back to regina sk.. Sorry Bub! Your guessing and assuming reeks of a lack of Inteligence, big time.

R Nation!

Anonymous said...

Yes Shirley obviously some fans travel; but to repeat the point, much of the 'out of province' Rider Nation is due to those that have moved away years ago.

For many years, even decades, Sask was always hovering just less than the one million mark. Yet they seemed the only province that could not crack that one million mark and there was a reason for it. That is because one of Saskatchewans primary exports was - people. It was not until the last 10 years and the development of the oil fields in an aggressive manor did the folks actually stop leaving the province. There is nothing new to my story here as it is not my story, it is the story of Saskatchewan since it's inception.

Shirley, as a Saskatchewanite you should know this, as a Rider fan you should really know this.

Z from 'Out of Province'

Go Riders

Anonymous said...

RIDER FANS DO GO TO AWAY GAMES. your point being? (Shirley, most everyone knows that already).

Anonymous said...

To the R Nation guy or gal,

The Redblacks looked mighty bad this past weekend. Your GM should go after Ricky Ray for 2016. I give you credit for appearing here today after your team stunk out the park in Calgary.

Long live Rider Nation!

Anonymous said...


Look forward to meeting you in a Hotel in Ottawa!

Your friend in Redblack Nation,


Anonymous said...

Give everyone in riderville credit too while your at it, for condoning a loser team that stinks out the park across the country.

Long live R Nation!
Ottawa, Canada.
Home of the REDBLACKS

Anonymous said...

The ruderless submarine steered by taman/chamblin about to explode, fired ×2!

Anonymous said...

All fans in Rider Nation looks forward to seeing HHHEEEENNNNRRRRYYYY play one more game at Mosaic.

Best wishes to the fans of Ottawa's Pirate Nation - RRRRRRRRR!

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

It's a real shame that this season was basically a write-off for most of us after 0-5. I used to be able to sell my unused Rider tickets and now can't even give them away for free at work. Somebody mentioned a charity that would maybe take them? I have 4

Anonymous said...

Love seeing the RedBlacks have some success. And glad we can have some FUN with them. To the cranky anons, try to find some positives and life will be much better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rider marketing Dept for post about how great a job you do. So pathetically obvious.
Now we just need someone from the radio station to bash the other guys. Yes you know who there are.

The comment section on this site is awesome. Way better then the blogs. Quit worrying about scruffy and read the comments only.

Anonymous said...

To the morons who think Scott Schultz was a quitter. Before you idiots open you mouth you should get the facts of the situation. He had a business opportunity that took 6 months longer to complete than it was supposed to due to some red tape. He was going to retire before training camp started but due to red tape that didn't happen. So he stayed committed to his team until such time that he was going to be able to do both careers. Be happy he stuck around for the 1st have of the season, remember who his replacement was...Marcus "Chunky" Adams. He is one of the greatest of all time on and off the field, show a little class and respect.

Anonymous said...

Who is Scruffy?

Anonymous said...

A suggestion to the previous post and to those who want to give their Rider tickets away for any remaining games - see one of the coaches of any of the Regina Minor Football teams and ask that they pass them onto a young player's family (they could do a draw). Drop by Leibel Field and you will find a lot of interest. You can bet that these youngsters would love to watch the game in good seats. I know when I was young I would have loved it if someone had given me a ticket so I would not have been always stuck in the "Rookie Section".

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

How about Mr. Tressman as the next H C?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Tressman is now the O.C. for the Baltimore Ravens and making lots of US cash, plus he has an elite QB in Joe Flacco to work with, so expect him to be in the NFL for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Nobody respects a quitter.

Anonymous said...

I guess we should thank Schultz for playing half a season and THEN quitting?? Give me a break. If he knew he couldn't commit to a full season, he should have stayed home.
He will always be a quitter in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Would Schultz have quit if the Riders were having a winning season that year ? I doubt it. He bailed on a losing season and that is why he loses a lot of respect.

Rod Pedersen said...

You just proved your ignorance. The Riders finished in first place in 2009.

Anonymous said...

The Riders were 3 - 3 when Schultz retired and he was pouting because he was relegated to a backup role.

Anonymous said... nailed IT! I think Shirley missed the point but you did not!

Rod Pedersen said...


Anonymous said...

Regardless of the circumstances.... He QUIT on his teammates.

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite songs is a recent Billy Bragg country song called "Nobody Knows Nothing Anymore" - You Tube it and enjoy. The song came to mind after reading many of the posting lately in this comment section.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Who is Tressman?


Anonymous said...

Tressmen is the magic man, the one who will lead the Riders to a glorious dynasty, to which we will never see anything other than 0 in the loss column for at least a decade.

He closely resembles Trestman, Marc, the Offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens only better and more fictitious.

Anonymous said...

Well you for one are clearly clueless. The upcoming game is sold out.

Anonymous said...

Wah. I loved the knee. All the Hilltops fans who were crying (literally bawling their eyes out in front of their children and everything) were hilarious. Rams owned the Hilltops like little bitches.