Saskatchewan Roughriders’ RB Jamal Morrow endorses Kelly Jeffrey for offensive coordinator

Photo courtesy: Mounties Athletics

The Saskatchewan Roughriders still have a vacancy at their offensive coordinator position but if recently re-signed running back Jamal Morrow has his way, the gig would go to Kelly Jeffrey.

“If he is a candidate and he takes the coordinator’s position, he would be a huge success,” Morrow told the media in Regina. “If he’s in it, I’m super excited, but we’ll have to see how the process goes.”

This past year was Jeffrey’s first with the Riders, serving as the team’s running backs after spending the previous season with the Edmonton Elks as the team’s quarterbacks coach and special teams assistant.

Morrow believes the two formed a bond, which is one of the reasons he would be excited to see his positional coach get the promotion.

“Coach Kelly was a staple for me in the past season,” Morrow said. “We developed a relationship all season and I love his coaching style.”

Morrow entered 2022 with only nine career carries but quickly established himself as a dangerous threat out of the backfield. He rushed for 666 yards and three touchdowns and made 43 receptions for 366 yards and one touchdown, finishing eighth league-wide in combined yards twelfth in yards from scrimmage.

It is believed that Jeffrey is one of only two remaining candidates for Saskatchewan’s vacant offensive coordinator position, the other being Toronto Argonauts’ receivers coach Pete Costanza. Numerous other potential candidates removed themselves from the running, such as Calgary Stampeders’ quarterbacks coach Marc Mueller, Edmonton Elks run game coordinator and receivers coach Markus Howell, and former Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones, who opted to take the vacant offensive coordinator role in Ottawa instead.

While Jeffrey has no professional play-calling experience, he has performed the duties at the collegiate level, having served as head coach and offensive coordinator at Mayville State University from 2002-2005 as well as at Mount Allison University in 2006 and 2007.

His top running back does not see his lack of professional experience as a barrier to success.

“The way he coached us this past season, he would break things down from an offensive coordinator’s perspective,” said Morrow. “He definitely has the credentials to do it.”

Jeffrey’s credentials include an eight-year run as the head coach at Mount Allison where he guided the program to a Uteck Bowl appearance in 2013, the school’s first trip to the national semi-final since 1997, and followed that up by getting to the Mitchell Bowl in 2014.

That 2014 season also saw Jeffrey lead the Mounties to an 8-0 mark in conference play and saw win the Frank Tindall Trophy as U Sports Coach of the Year as well as Atlantic University Sport’s Coach of the Year.

While Jeffrey’s collegiate accolades at Mount Allison are impressive — the team has played in just two Loney Bowls since his departure, winning neither, and has just one season above .500 since 2016 — and his top ball carrier from 2022 having his back is noteworthy, it remains to be seen if he can translate his collegiate experience into success at the professional level.