Redblacks hand play-calling duties to Joe Paopao

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Ottawa Redblacks have called an audible when it comes to play-calling duties.

Head coach Rick Campbell has put the offence in the hands of Joe Paopao. Winston October had been calling the plays for the first nines game of the season in the nation’s capital.

“We’re going to shuffle the offensive staff. Winston’s going to work with the receivers and focus solely on that. And then coach Joe will work with the quarterbacks and call plays and Beau Walker will go to the running backs,” Campbell said.

Ottawa entered the season with Dominique Davis as the starting quarterback. He’s thrown more than double the amount of interceptions (11) compared to touchdowns (5). Through seven starts, Davis has a 3-4 win-loss record while completing 62 per cent of his passes for 1,823 yards with 25 carries for 102 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

“I didn’t feel we were showing enough progress fast enough and so I wanted to inject a different energy into it. I’m hopeful with a quarterback that’s new to being a full-time starter, that the guy coaching the quarterbacks is also calling the plays. The hope is that will help some confidence and communication,” Campbell said.

Paopao was head coach of the Renegades from 2002-2005 and played quarterback for the Rough Riders in 1987. After an 11-year playing career, Paopao became a CFL coach with stints as an offensive coordinator in B.C., Edmonton, Winnipeg and Hamilton. Paopao was head coach of the Renegades from 2002-2005 producing a 23-49 record prior to the franchise folding.

“Coach Joe does have some experience and experience playing the position and with a newer quarterback hoping that can translate to a certain level of comfort and confidence,” Campbell said.

“It’ll be varied, some new things but also some of the things that we’ve been doing. And also just trying to get better at fewer things as opposed to trying to do too many things,” general manager Marcel Desjardins said about changes to the scheme under Paopao.

Ottawa sits 3-6 with 175 points scored, the second-lowest amount league-wide. The Redblacks have scored a CFL-worst 11 offensive touchdowns and are averaging 19.4 points per game so far in 2019 compared to 25.8 last year under Jaime Elizondo.

“We’ve been pretty ineffective for long stretches. Our greatest challenge right now is just getting things done offensively,” Desjardins said.

“It’s a bunch of different little pieces that make it like it’s very discombobulated.”