New Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive coordinator Kelly Jeffrey did not mince words when asked about not being the organization’s first choice for the role.
“People turned this down and I think if they’re so great then the circumstances about this organization shouldn’t matter,” Jeffrey passionately told local media when he met with them on Tuesday.
“If they’re worried about the head coach or GM, their status, those things shouldn’t matter if you think you’re the right guy for the job. I think I’m the guy for the job. Those things don’t concern me at all.”
Jeffrey was referring to the number of candidates who turned reportedly down the job, including Calgary Stampeders’ quarterbacks coach Marc Mueller and former Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones, who instead decided to join Bob Dyce in Ottawa.
The other finalist for the position was Toronto Argonauts passing game coordinator and receivers coach Peter Costanza, who withdrew himself from consideration over the weekend.
Not being the first choice will add the proverbial fuel to Jeffrey’s fire as well.
“I’m betting on myself and if you bet on yourself, then those outside factors don’t ring true.”
Jeffrey has extensive coaching experience, just not at the professional level. He spent one season with the Toronto Argonauts as the team’s special teams coordinator in 2016 and last year in Saskatchewan as the Riders’ running backs coach.
His work with the Riders’ ball carriers is what led the recently re-signed Jamal Morrow to endorse Jeffrey for the job last week.
“He would be a huge success,” Morrow told local media. “The way he coached us this past season, he would break things down from an offensive coordinator’s perspective. He definitely has the credentials to do it.”
Jeffrey has spent most of his coaching career in the college ranks, most notably at Mount Allison University where he led the program from 2008 to 2015, returning the Mounties to national prominence with two Loney Bowl victories. Jeffrey led the school to an undefeated 8-0 record in 2014 and was awarded the Frank Tindall Trophy as the U Sports coach of the year — an award for which he was nominated three times.
Despite his lack of professional experience, Jeffrey is ready to tackle this new challenge head-on.
“I’m very fired up and pumped about it,” he said. “We’re going to move this thing forward. I cannot wait to get started.”