Dickenson turns coach

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

As an easy-going guy, Dave Dickenson didn't worry too much about playing football.

He would do his preparation, then go out and execute the game plan.

No problem.

Now as an offensive assistant with the Calgary Stampeders, Dickenson will have to trust others to complete the strategies.

Putting control in other people's hands is just one adjustment the former star quarterback will have after officially signing up as a coach yesterday.

"I'm never been a stressful guy," Dickenson said. "If you are prepared and have a good plan, you should be able to get things done.

"It is easier when you're playing because you have a direct impact on things. Growing up, I was always more nervous for my brother's games than my own. I wanted him to do well, and I had no control over it. That's where the stress comes as a coach. You do all you can during the week and let the guys do it on game day."

The 36-year-old Dickenson should transition easily into the next phase of his career.

Dickenson suffered concussion symptoms during the Labour Day game after relieving Henry Burris. He spent the latter half of the season on the nine-game injured list, but he continued to travel with the team and room with Burris.

The duo was able to talk over what it saw, and it helped Burris become the Grey Cup MVP in winning his first title as a starting quarterback.

As a coach, things will change, as Dickenson is expected to focus on running backs because George Cortez is the offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Still, Dickenson will continue to offer his advice to Burris when he needs it.

"We could talk over stuff informally last year," Dickenson said. "I wasn't trying to coach him. We were just brainstorming ideas.

"I think that helped him. He had things I never had thought about before. Henry has a lot of experience and did a great job. He's a guy who has kept improving. We're trying to keep him on that path, and greater things will come."

Burris anticipates Dickenson will make a great coach.

"This is only the beginning," Burris said. "You will see him go lots of places and do lots of things in the coaching realm."

Another adjustment for Dickenson will be time spent at work. He and wife Tammy have two young children, and becoming a coach means he won't be sticking to a 41/2-hour workday as a CFL player.

Dickenson will no longer be a veteran mentor to younger players, meaning he won't hear the exact nature of their problems any more.

"I have to make that adjustment," Dickenson said. "Last year, that did happen. Guys felt comfortably that I knew enough, and I wasn't judgemental. They knew I wasn't coming back to the coaches and saying, 'So and so doesn't know the offence -- get him out of there.'

"What I will try to do is be a little bit of a go-between, but I am a coach now. I want to make sure they know who their position coach is and that I'm there to help them.

"I'm there to push them. Either you are getting better or getting worse and my goal is to get better."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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