Ottawa Redblacks’ interim head coach Bob Dyce ‘still exploring options’ at offensive coordinator

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Ottawa Redblacks’ interim head coach Bob Dyce has been tasked with trying to lead his team to as many wins as possible over their four remaining games, though one critical task remains at the top of his to-do list: find an offensive coordinator.

“We’re still exploring options in that regard. There’ll be a dedicated play-caller moving forward and as soon as it’s been finalized, I’ll let you know,” Dyce told the media in a press conference that was carried by TSN 1200.

Paul LaPolice was fired this past week after two seasons with the team, vacating his dual-role as head coach and offensive coordinator. Dyce did not set a timeline for selecting a new offensive coordinator but said he would do so “as fast as possible.” He did not indicate whether or not LaPolice’s replacement is already with the organization.

Dyce served as an offensive assistant in the CFL for nine seasons before becoming the offensive coordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2012. He remains confident in his abilities as an offensive coach, though he has not worked directly on that side of the ball since becoming Saskatchewan’s special teams coordinator in 2013.

“The greatest thing I want to do is make sure the players are put in a position to be successful. I don’t want to rush into anything. I know we’re on a short timeframe but I want to make sure we do things right for these four games. I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys in the locker room and I want to make sure that we do things right and that it’s going to allow us to set a strong foundation here,” said Dyce.

Ottawa’s remaining offensive coaching staff includes quarterbacks coach Will Arndt, running backs coach Fred Reid, receiver coach Alex Suber, and offensive line coach Paul Charbonneau. Dyce said he will continue to serve as the team’s special teams coordinator, though he hinted that someone could be coming in to help with the role.

The Winnipeg native has been an interim head coach before having replaced Corey Chamblin when he was fired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015. Dyce took over a team that was 0-9 and went 3-6 down the stretch, finishing the season with a 3-15 record. He joined the Redblacks the following year as the team’s special teams coordinator after Saskatchewan hired Chris Jones to be its head coach and general manager.

“A big thing of coaching is you have to show the expectations and what you want and be clear and concise with the players and let them know,” said Dyce.

“It’s not like I haven’t worked with these guys already and so they know and the guys that have played for me on special teams know what I’m all about. I told them this morning that I’m not going to change who I am, nor am I going to change my expectations and I do have high expectations on any unit that I coach and now it’s the whole team.”

The Redblacks (3-11) are still mathematically eligible to make the postseason, though they will be eliminated this weekend if they lose to Montreal and Saskatchewan beats Hamilton. Dyce believes his players have what it takes to improve and hopes to set a new standard for next season even if he doesn’t remain on as head coach.

“I see these guys every single day and I’ve seen them every day for 20 weeks. I know what’s inside these guys and I know how they can compete. I don’t see any challenge in motivating them for these four games because I know what’s in them and it’s our job as coaches to get it out of them at a consistent level,” he said.

“I look at these four games as the foundation of us getting to where we need to be. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be there for when they get there, but I can take great pride if I set that foundation and we’re working towards it and get to that direction.”

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.