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O’Day brings calm to Riderville (and four other thoughts)

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders did the expected as Craig Reynolds and Jeremy O’Day put on the standard issue green ties for every major Rider news conference to name O’Day as the team’s new vice president of football operations and general manager.

It’s a move that makes sense on a whole bunch of different levels, many of which were already shared by 3DownNation’s Darrell Davis. So, I don’t really need to repeat them, I’ll let Darrell’s work do that for me.

That said, there was some interesting things to come out of the introductory news conference. (Is it still an introductory news conference where everyone already knows the guy who’s been around for 21 years and has done some of the work he’s about to do before?)

Here’s some of my thoughts in no particular order of importance.

It’s definitely a new (O’)Day

There’s no question that the vibe of this news conference was unlike any other we’ve seen over the last three seasons.

For Chris Jones, meeting with the media always felt like more of an obligation. O’Day even made a little quip about Jones thinking this conference would have gone on too long about 40 minutes in. I’m sure O’Day doesn’t take pleasure in having to sit there and answer questions, who would? But it’s a different tone. This isn’t important for media reasons, most of you don’t really care how teams treat us, nor should you, but it does set a tone for how the organization is going to act publicly. It’s been a little chaotic at times lately, so a sense of calm is a good thing.

When it comes to his personalty and handling the media, O’Day and Jones are night and day. Not saying that one approach is better than the other, both guys are just being true to themselves which is all we can ever hope for.

No one was duped

It didn’t take long after we all learned that Jones was headed to Cleveland, the tin-foil hats came out.

Reynolds set the record straight that Jones had an out-clause all along, like most coaches, and there wasn’t some grand scheme enacted over the last week to get him one to get his new job. It all came together quickly.

Sure, it doesn’t look great on the organization that a week after announcing an extension that Jones is gone, but you can just file this one under “stuff happens.”

There could be some change to the coaching staff

Much of the talk around Saskatchewan since the news broke has centred around who will be the Riders next head coach.

Thanks to the new football ops cap, there’s been plenty of questions about what the team might be able to do with a limited number of spots available to fill the Jones void.

The general idea seems to be that they’ll try and hire a head coach and defensive coordinator that is willing to work with the current group, and that very well could happen, but O’Day did leave the door open to making some changes.

On a few occasions, he talked about 80 per cent of the coaching staff and that there was some room for flexibility for the next head coach. So, whoever that is couldn’t get rid of the entire group, but a change or two could be made.

Most likely in my opinion? They hire an offensive minded coach and wish Stephen McAdoo well in his future endeavours and promote Jason Shivers to defensive coordinator.

They probably have the cap room to make such a move work, as a report about the team’s coaching staff being signed for two years was denied by O’Day.

Reynolds was ready 

It’s pretty obvious now that this was always the plan for Reynolds, he knew that Jones was eventually going to make his move and O’Day would be his next guy.

They obviously have a great working relationship and that kept O’Day with the team through the last three seasons.

I’ve had my questions about Reynolds as team president, but maybe he deserves a little more credit than he’s got.

There’s a rush but there isn’t

O’Day is taking the right approach when it comes to hiring his first head coach.

Obviously, given where we are at in the offseason, there’s a bit of a rush to get something done. That said, O’Day also knows he has to get the hire right. So, if it takes a little bit longer to get the right person for the job, he’s going to take it. That’s a good thing.

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About the author

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.

By Joel Gasson

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