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Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Photo courtesy Global's Derek Meyers
REGINA - Learning "on the fly'' was the biggest challenge Bob Dyce faced this season as the Saskatchewan Roughriders interim head coach.

Dyce assumed the job at the end of August after Saskatchewan fired head coach Corey Chamblin and GM Brendan Taman following an 0-9 start to the season. Dyce, who began the year as the club's special-teams co-ordinator, compiled a 3-6 record in his first experience as a CFL head coach.

The Riders also promoted Jeremy O'Day to interim GM to replace Taman.

Saskatchewan finished the season last in the West Division with a CFL-worst 3-15 record but ended the campaign by rallying for a 30-24 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.

"I didn't have huge expectations in certain ways because it wasn't something that I planned on doing,'' Dyce said Monday. "Once I stepped into the role, it was a great role and a challenging role.

"You know, I think it's one thing becoming a head coach when you've had a whole off-season to prepare for it as opposed to eight hours. But the role itself I thoroughly enjoyed.''

Dyce took over a team whose struggles began right from the beginning of the season. Starter Darian Durant suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the club's opening game, then shortly afterwards veteran backup Kevin Glenn went down with a torn pectoral muscle, thrusting rookie Brett Smith into the starting lineup.

Dyce says it's going to take a while to look at what went wrong.

"We were challenged from the start and you know, you look at different aspects of the season or different aspects of the team and you have an idea,'' he said. "But I think it's going to take a little more analysis than just saying, right now, 24 hours after you just played your last game ... 'Well, this went wrong.'

"You know the things that have to be corrected. I mean obviously when you look at our season, we were challenged defensively from Week 1 and throughout the season.''

Dyce is interested in becoming the Riders' full-time head coach but hasn't spoken directly to team president/CEO Craig Reynolds about the position.

Defensive back Tristan Jackson, an eight-year CFL veteran, said the 2015 season was also a learning experience for him.

"I tell people all the time man, this was probably one of the toughest seasons of my career,'' Jackson said as he cleaned out his locker. "You just get up and pray, because when you lose, it's tough.

"You lose a lot of keys guys on offence, then you lose keys guys on defence and just going in ... it was just a constant struggle.''

Veteran defensive end John Chick agreed, saying it was "a rough season.'' But Chick gets the feeling the Riders are all looking towards being better next year.

"Right now, it's just about closing that chapter,'' he said. "It was a bad chapter, but you know I think, not only does it remind you of the good times, but it makes you look forward to the better times.''

(Canadian Press)