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.