It appears that Craig Butler, an intelligent and hard-nosed safety during his recently-ended playing career, has a bright future as a professional football coach.
Butler, who missed all of 2016 with injury, retired from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and pro football early last September and joined the team’s revamped coaching staff not long after June Jones replaced Kent Austin leading into Labour Day against Toronto.
When the Ticats released their 2018 coaching staff roster Thursday, Butler was listed as defensive assistant and “special teams.”
Since there is no formal special teams coordinator on the staff, the 29-year-old London native is likely the de facto coordinator. But since he’s young and less than a full year removed from his playing career, Butler will be assisted by a veteran group comprising, but likely not exclusive to: new assistant head coach Orlondo Steinauer, whose return from Fresno State was announced last week; new defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville; and Dennis McKnight who was the 2017 special teams coordinator but will be the offensive line coach in 2018.
Butler will also be position coach for the safeties.
“Craig is going to be the one to do all the film work and he’ll take the specific special teams, say, kickoff,” Jones told The Spectator. “Each position coach will have one or two of the teams, like field goal protection, or kickoff return.
“Craig basically took two or three of those teams last year working with Dennis. I watched how he coached and liked it.”
Dennis McPhee—the Hamilton native always popular with the players and in the community–retains his position as defensive line coach. This will be his 16th season on the Ticats staff in the last 24 years, including five straight heading into 2018.
Stoney Creek native Corey Grant returns as running back coach and has been given an upward bump, adding “assistant offensive coordinator” to his portfolio. Jones is offensive coordinator as well as head coach.
William Fields, who was an assistant on defence and special teams last year also has a promotion: he’ll be the defensive backs coach with responsibility for the four “outside” positions in the secondary: halfbacks and cornerbacks.
Ottawa native Jarryd Baines returns as offensive quality control coach and will also add the assistant wide receivers coaching job to his duties.
Dan Morrison, who joined Jones’ staff in early October and had a definite positive effect on Jeremiah Masoli’s performance, returns as quarterback coach.
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