Ticats get co-ordinated

MIKE THOMAS, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 PM ET

HAMILTON - Wednesday didn't only mark the first Tiger-Cats practice of 2011 it also marked the career debuts of Khari Jones and Corey Chamblin as offensive and defensive coordinators in the CFL.

On offence, Jones steps up from his old position as Hamilton's quarterback coach while Chamblin comes in from Calgary to replace Greg Marshall as the team's defensive coordinator.

Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said things have gone well for the two in their new positions leading up to camp.

"It's been very positive," said Bellefeuille, stressing that both have had a chance to connect with the team. "Its good to have the opportunity to work with them, listen a little more and spend more time with them."

After coaching Ticats quarterbacks for the past two seasons, Jones' biggest challenge is making connections with the other players on the team's offence and paying attention to the big picture.

"There's so much going on and you feel responsible for everything," said Jones after his first day as the boss on offence. "You want to see the line, the receivers, the quarterbacks and trust your coaches to do their job."

Jones has worked with Tiger-Cats starting quarterback Kevin Glenn for a number of years. In addition to coaching him the past two years in Hamilton, the two also played together in Winnipeg. Glenn said he's excited to work with Jones in a new position.

"When they get a change in power, some people change," said Glenn. "He's not that type of person. He's the same guy that came here two years ago but with a lot more knowledge."

On the Tiger-Cats offence, Glenn is solidified as the starting quarterback. The team has several veterans at receiver and recently brought in former Grey Cup MVP Avon Cobourne at running back.

Apart from the offensive line it doesn't seem like Jones has many decisions to make in camp but he insisted that anyone could surprise him.

"It's a competition, it always is," said Jones.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chamblin brings in a change in playing philosophy from what the team saw under Greg Marshall.

Chamblin said that under him the defence would move from a zone style of defence to defending in more of a man-to- man style. For those who have been with the team, this will be a change and the players and coaches will need to make adjustments.

"It's not where you've been, it's where you are," said Chamblin. "It's not about what I did in Calgary or what they did with Greg, it's about what we're doing right here, right now."

In Calgary, Chamblin's duty was working with the team's defensive backs. In Hamilton he will have to deal with more of the same as the Tiger-Cats biggest question mark is the secondary.

Coaching the rookie camp on Thursday, Chamblin talked about which positions are open for first year players heading into the season.

"There's a lot of positions in the secondary," said Chamblin. "There might be a rookie or two that makes it."

Seeing all potential rookies take the field on Thursday Chamblin said that there was anyone he wasn't impressed by and that his players looked like they belonged.

Outside of the defensive backs the team has experience on defence and features one of the best groups of linebackers in the league headlined by newcomer Renauld Williams and 2010's Most Outstanding Defensive player, Markeith Knowlton. For the young players currently in camp it will be tough to earn a spot at linebacker but Chamblin didn't rule out the possibility.

Hamilton's previous offensive and defensive coordinators led them to 9-9 records in each of the previous two seasons and with Jones and Chamblin taking command, the Tiger-Cats will look to improve on that mark and solidify themselves as contenders for the 100th Grey Cup this fall.

Stay tuned.


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