Just a couple of years removed from his playing career, Dave Dickenson reminds himself he’s no longer wearing a helmet.
The Calgary Stampeders quarterbacks coach has been growing into the role of calling the plays instead of carrying them out.
“I’ve got to remember I’m not calling the plays for me. That’s one of the things I’ve got to watch out for,” said Dickenson, the former Stamps QB who started his coaching career a year ago as running backs coach and is now part of an offensive co-ordinator-by-committee approach that has him tending to the quarterbacks.
“Just because I like a play, it doesn’t mean the starter likes the play and reads the play well. I’m learning that.
“I do believe I need to do a better job of that. It’s part of the process.”
Ironically, Dickenson didn’t get to call many of his own plays as a starting quarterback in the CFL before post-concussion syndrome forced him to retire. He always figured the coaches knew best.
“Coaches put a lot more time in. They’ve got a lot better understanding of defences,” he said. “I do like suggestions, though. If a quarterback is passionate about something, I’ll get it called. Maybe not the next play, but down the road.”
Down the road, Dickenson could see himself in the role of offensive co-ordinator.
First, he has to earn the trust of head coach John Hufnagel, who has been pleased with his protege’s progress this season.
“Well, we’re two and one,” Hufnagel said with a laugh. “He’s doing a fine job. I’m pleased with the job he and the offensive staff is doing.
“He is a very good communicator. He is very organized.”
And he’s very open to advice, which he receives plenty of from his fellow coaches.
“I call the plays.
I get a lot of input from the other coaches. It’s my decision until Huf tells me to run a play,” Dickenson said. “That’s fine with me.”
The easy-going 37-year-old from Montana has shown he can be demanding, too.
Just ask Henry Burris, who is receiving the play calls from his former backup QB.
“He’s gotten after me a couple of times, but he’s also said, ‘Hank, I do understand,’ ” Burris said. “He understands the position.
“He’s done a remarkable job. Even though people might say he’s a young guy in this position, trust me, he’s been able to communicate with the guys well, like a guy who’s been there for a long time.”
Perhaps because was in their same position for a long time. Now, Dickenson sees himself in this one for years to come.
“I enjoy this,” he said with a smile. “I want to be 3-0, but other than that ... ”