It’s the beginning of a new era for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
One day after firing head coach Corey Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman, president and CEO Craig Reynolds met with the media to discuss the decision.
“The reality is we’ve won two out of 17 games. As I’ve said before, that’s not acceptable for this franchise,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds met with Taman early on Monday morning, as they normally would after a game to discuss the status of the team. At that time, it was decided that a change at coach was needed.
After that meeting though, Reynolds had another decision to make when it came to the future of architect of the 2013 Grey Cup.
“These are never easy decisions or changes. But, these changes were necessary for us to move forward toward our vision of sustained success on the field,” he said. “This club has high expectations and clearly we have not been meeting them.”
The decision to fire both Chamblin and Taman was not a knee-jerk reaction to one specific event or move. Reynolds was adamant that everything was taken into consideration dating back to when this prolonged slump began around a year ago.
“Obviously it was a number of factors. The reality is we’re in a results-oriented business. We’re 0-9 in this season, 2-15 over the last 17 games and there’s shared responsibility there,” he said.
When it came to Taman’s job specifically, Reynolds did suggest that the Saskatoon native could have done a better job with roster management and the salary cap.
The search for a full-time general manager and head coach will begin in the off-season. Reynolds felt it was in the best interest of the franchise to explore all of their options, rather than just naming Dyce and O’Day to the posts.
Becoming a general manager is something O’Day has spent the last four years working toward.
When the former offensive lineman retired after the 2011 season, he would be named the team’s assistant general manager in February.
Since then, he’s been taking notes and learning from Taman along the way.
“I have a great opportunity in front of me to show that I’m ready,” he said. “I hope that my actions are going to speak louder than my words are.”
O’Day did admit that it’s difficult to take over for someone he has a lot of respect for but that’s life in football sometimes.
According to Reynolds, O’Day will have control of roster management on a day-to-day basis. However, any moves, especially trades that may affect the future, will be more of a collaborative effort.
Now, O’Day has to walk the fine line between starting this franchises re-tooling phase while remaining competitive on the field.
“Obviously, when you’re 0-9, there needs to be some adjustments,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in the guys in the locker room and I have a lot of faith in the coaching staff that’s here.”
ROLLING THE DYCE
Tuesday was a day 15 years in the making for Dyce. Dyce began his coaching career in 1992 in the CJFL and now for the first time he’s going to be a CFL head coach.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity and what we can do over the next nine game,” said the Winnipeg native.
When Dyce was still playing football, coaching is something that he never thought he would do.
“Because dealing with coaches wasn’t always the most positive of situations. Especially for head-case receivers,” joked Dyce.
Since he became a coach, this is the moment Dyce has been working toward. He first joined the Riders as the team’s pass-game coordinator and receivers coach in 2010. He was named offensive coordinator in 2012 before being moved into the special teams role he’s held since 2013.
“The biggest thing is you got to stay true to yourself. I fully expect to be the same person,” he said. “It’s just a different responsibility. My life revolves around football, my family and my faith. In some regards, it’s not that big of a change.”
Dyce has already made his first decision as the new bench boss, rookie quarterback Brett Smith will start Sunday’s Labour Day Classic against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Smith was pulled during Sunday’s loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.The Riders will practice for the first time under the watchful eye of Dyce on Wednesday morning.
Late Tuesday afternoon the Roughriders announced they released quarterback Tino Sunseri.