Redblacks going without an offensive coordinator ‘not as uncommon as you might think’

Ottawa Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell believes the offensive coordinator by committee approach can work.

“It’s conventional to have the coordinator title on someone, that’s obviously more common, but the more important thing is a collaboration between the coaches and that there’s a good synergy working. They’ve been working so well as a cohesive unit I just didn’t want to throw the title on someone just for the sake of having that title being thrown on someone,” Campbell told TSN radio 1200 in Ottawa.

“These are just how the titles work, but they’ll be a clear protocol of calling the plays on game day. It’s quite a bonus whether you’re talking offence or defence to have that collaboration and multiple people giving input and game plans get put together better that way.”

Campbell added veteran CFL coach Joe Paopao to the offensive staff as running backs coach. Meanwhile, John McDonnell remains the offensive line coach, Winston October receivers coach and Beau Walker moves from offensive assistant to quarterbacks coach.

“There’s three guys here John McDonnell, Winston October and Beau Walker that know the offence very well. We didn’t want to change terminology or what we’re doing and we have a veteran group of players here that are the same so we needed someone to come in that could integrate themselves and still bring value at the same time,” Campbell said.

“It’s gotta be someone that was a good listener, someone with a lot of football knowledge, someone that understands football culture and how things work. And that they could integrate themselves in and learn and as they get more comfortable with the offence. A guy like Joe is a guy that can do a great job of coaching the running backs at the same time be a good sounding board and contribute to making game plans and doing all those things.”

After an 11-year playing career as a QB, Paopao became a CFL coach with stints as an offensive coordinator in B.C., Edmonton, Winnipeg and Hamilton. During four seasons as the bench boss in the nation’s capital, Paopao went 23-49 prior to the Renegades franchise folding.

“The timing worked out well, it was a unique situation, where we’re basically a month out from training camp and he was available. He’ll be a really good fit four our players and for the rest of the offensive staff. He’s already moved up here. This is how fast it’s gone,” Campbell said.

October will call the plays during games. October played six seasons in the CFL from 1999-2004, winning a Grey Cup in 2003 with the Edmonton Eskimos. Last season was October’s first coaching in the CFL after seven years at Virginia Military Institute junior college, two as a defensive backs coach and five as receivers coach, and four at the College of William and Mary as receivers coach.

“All three of the guys that have been here on our staff are capable and deserving of becoming coordinators. It’s not as uncommon as you might think in that staff’s that really work well together where it’s an offensive staff or a defensive staff, the best ones are done by collaboration,” Campbell said.

“You get input from everyone as far as the game plan as stuff is being installed during the week. On game day we want to have a clear protocol as far as what’s going on, so that’s going to be Winston’s role to call plays. I always have an influence on that regardless of who it is as far as when big decisions are made.”

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