Well it may be a year later but Brendan Taman finally has his man. Yesterday he formally introduced Corey Chamblin as the new head coach of the Roughriders. Of course Taman wanted Chamblin last year but got vetoed in favour of Marshall… marking the first documented case of Taman being able to say I told you so.
I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed with our choice. I don’t think Chamblin was a bad hire I just don’t think he was the best candidate available. I would have loved to have seen us go with the Dickenson tandem (I had so many jokes in the works based on the first four letters of their last name). I realize that Dave is fairly green in terms of coaching experience but we really could have used a young bright offensive mind and I think the presence of Craig as assistant HC would have helped him grow into the role. In passing on Dave we also risk losing Craig… he might still stick around but there is a big risk of losing him which would be a huge loss. We’ve been trying for years to find a competent Special Teams Coordinator who could make our return and cover games not suck and we finally, finally found our guy and now he may leave.
Anywho, Chamblin is our coach and that is that. I’m willing to give the guy a shot. Unlike our previous coach I don’t already hate him so we are starting from a fairly neutral point. Chamblin’s stock as a coach was skyrocketing until last season when his defense sucked in his first year as a coordinator. Doesn’t exactly instill confidence in him. I’m willing to cut Chamblin a bit of slack on last year. I think his major flaw there was his schemes didn’t fit the talent he had. He loves the aggressive, bump and run, man to man style of play in the secondary. It’s a high risk high reward scenario. Problem was he tried to run that on a team that had slim pickings in terms of talent in the secondary. They only had one good DB following 2010 and he bolted to Calgary in free agency. So I don’t necessarily think his schemes were bad he just didn’t have the talent to pull it off. Now of course he probably should have adapted his schemes to his talent and hopefully that taught him a lesson. As I said, I have some concerns but I’m willing to see what he can do. It is somewhat refreshing to a have a coach that won’t require an afternoon nap. Hell Chamblin so young, some of the O-linemen will be able to call him junior.
I do need to address these comparisons to Mike Tomlin. Tomlin likes the guy and speaks highly of him which is great. But people seem to assume that just because Chamblin is young, black and has a goatee he will be CFL’s version of Tomlin. That’s quite frankly ridiculous. You know who else is young, black and has a goatee? James Johnson… so by that logic we should hire him since he will be an awesome coach. Or maybe we should just encourage Will Smith to apply… personally I’d be okay with that as long as he brought DJ Jazy Jeff with him.
Now that Chamblin is our guy, I will be closely watching who he hires as his assistants… particularly on offense where he will need a strong guy since that isn’t his area of expertise… plus our offense was beyond abysmal last year. There are rumblings that Jason Maas could join our staff as a QB Coach. I don’t mind that idea… the only things that ever bothered me about him were his ears and the odd man-crush thing him and Maciocia had going on. So far there have been no indications on an OC (though names like Worman, Dyce and Khari Jones have been floated). This is purely speculation but I know there is a former CFL OC who has a couple Grey Cup rings and would do anything to be on the same staff as Maas… his name rhymes with Cantcoachya. Hell he’d likely do it for free just to be around Maas.
On the defensive side I have heard speculation that Richie Hall will be retained. That quite frankly blows my mind. Chamblin and Hall’s defensive philosophies are about as similar as Tim Tebow and a Satanist’s religious beliefs. I have no clue how they would coexist. Seems problematic to me. I just hope we retain Alex Smith as LB coach and ideally Craig Dickenson… though Smith is probably the safer bet to return unless he retires.
The good news is it would be darn near impossible to do worse than last year. So best of luck Coach Chamblin.