What’s the Riders’ plan, Mr. President?

Kevin Glenn, Jabar Westerman

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have again proven they have the CFL’s worst team, judging by their bellyflop Saturday in a 46-20 road loss to the B.C. Lions.

Any discussion about replacing inept players and coaches or hiring a general manager is premature. You can’t simply cut linebacker Macho Harris, defensive tackle Tearrius George or guard Chris Best and hope the team gets better. Nor can you briskly sweep out defensive co-ordinator Greg Quick or interim head coach Bob Dyce.

First the franchise has to determine how it can re-join the ranks of the league’s top teams.


New president/CEO Craig Reynolds has to establish a plan. Then he must hire the right man as general manager.

Reynolds, by all accounts, is a financial wizard with an outstanding ability to look after the books of the community-owned franchise. He was groomed for his current job under former president/CEO Jim Hopson.

Now Reynolds has to hire a full-time general manager who will be responsible for every player and coach wearing Roughriders gear next season.

Nobody is saying Reynolds can’t make the right choice. But it does seem ludicrous that a financial wizard is responsible for deciding who is the best person to oversee the Riders’ football operations. No doubt Reynolds, a paid employee, will receive oodles of advice from the volunteers members of the board, most of whom simply can’t resist meddling in the team’s on-field product.

Perhaps a head-hunting firm will be hired. Head hunters know lots about football, doncha know?

Warren Woods of CJME’s GreenZone is advocating the Roughriders throw a million bucks at Kent Austin or John Hufnagel and woo them to Saskatchewan so they can establish a winning program, like they set up in Hamilton and Calgary, respectively.

Ain’t gonna happen. Why would any sane person want to join the Roughriders right now? There’s a massive rebuilding required and no blueprint in place.

A few years ago, general manager Brendan Taman hired a former Riders centre, Jeremy O’Day, as assistant general manager with the notion that O’Day would learn the job and ultimately advance to become general manager. When Taman was fired a month ago, O’Day was given the GM job an an interim basis. O’Day has cut a no-talent quarterback, re-signed a veteran and made a trade to acquire a Canadian offensive lineman, plus there are other personnel moves that haven’t been made public.

Remember, the Roughriders want to be a stable franchise with a logical progression inside its hierarchy.

They put O’Day in that assistant’s chair for a reason. Reynolds should certainly check who is available for the GM’s job, conduct a thorough search, and be completely happy if O’Day is truly the best candidate. O’Day can then determine who should be the team’s head coach — Dyce probably fell out of the picture with Saturday’s loss — and make the new boss hire assistant coaches who are capable of replacing the head coach. That wasn’t the case on Saskatchewan’s coaching staff before Corey Chamblin was fired a month ago. The new coaches should keep the best players and also make sure there are worthy candidates behind the starter, pushing them.

That would be a good plan for the entire Riders organization to follow.


Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.