Stubler is a coach rejuvenated

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Rich Stubler has no axe to grind, no desire to prove anyone wrong.

Fired by the Argonauts in September 2008 as head coach when the club decided his 4-6 record wasn’t cutting it, Stubler will be back on Canadian Football League sidelines in 2010, coaching the B.C. Lions’ defensive line.

Stubler simply figures he is back where he should be, and probably should have been all along.

“I think so,” Stubler said on Monday from the Lions’ offices in Surrey, B.C.

“I had some major college offers but I am kind of ambivalent to that. It’s not what I do well. I feel like I belong in the CFL.”

The Argos have been terrible since Stubler was sent on his way, winning three of 26 games and enduring the disastrous, short-term tenures of Bart Andrus and Don Matthews.

No matter what differences lay between the Argonauts’ front office and Stubler, it’s hard to imagine they would have been worse off had Stubler kept his job.

But Stubler, who coached a high school team in Colorado and was contacted by Lions defensive co-ordinator Mike Benevides a couple of months ago, has no interest in taking glee in the Argos’ downfall. Stubler left Toronto without speaking to reporters and does not have much to say on the matter now.

“I have no real thoughts on (his firing),” Stubler said. “Football is football. When they fired me, I did not say anything and I still won’t. I don’t worry about stuff like that.

“I’m happy for them now. It has been a little tough on them.”

In hindsight, Stubler didn’t mind that he was forced to take a step back. The man responsible for the stifling, bend-don’t-break defence in Toronto when he was the defensive co-ordinator negotiated a lump-sum payment from the Argos not long after he was let go, breaking away from the CFL game both emotionally and financially.

“I was laying low, and everybody likes the fact you can reset a little bit,” Stubler said.

“It was good for me.”

Stubler’s philosophy hasn’t changed, either. Benevides calls the defensive shots, but Stubler will have input.

“This is Canada, so it’s bend, not break, because that’s what defences do,” Stubler said. “No team is so physical that they can just go out and dominate. The job is to keep teams from scoring touchdowns, and it does not matter what league you play in.”

Stubler is glad for a couple of men who used to dominate for him, Mike O’Shea and Orlondo Steinauer.

The two are part of the Argos’ coaching staff under Jim Barker, with O’Shea co-ordinating special teams and Steinauer in charge of defensive backs.

“I’m appreciative that it is something they’re doing now,” Stubler said. “Orlando and Osh both have coaching mentalities. They’re not going to fly off the handle when things might go wrong.”

Stubler didn’t reach for a schedule to find out when the Lions and Argos will meet in 2010 so he could being plotting on-field revenge. His interest in a Lions game in Toronto lay in knowing when he would next see the friends he made when he lived here.

Stubler’s interests are in the bigger picture.

“I’m elated,” Stubler said. “Mike and Wally (Buono, the Lions coach/general manager) saw fit to hiring me, and now I want the Lions to be able to compete for the Grey Cup. I hope I can bring a little bit of an edge.”

An edge that has been missing from the Argos since Stubler was fired.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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