Coach carousel starts spinning

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

John Jenkins' first day on the job was the last day of employment for coaches in two other CFL cities.

And, as is generally the case, rumours of rearrangement began instantly.

The most significant move was made in Winnipeg, where one of Ottawa's favourite sons, Jim Daley, was relieved of his duties as the Blue Bombers' coach. A top candidate to replace Daley is believed to be Greg Marshall, the disposed Renegades defensive co-ordinator. Another possibility, if only a slim one, is former Blue Bombers star quarterback Matt Dunigan, who has settled back into the broadcast booth after one year as Calgary's coach.

A more likely move would see Joe Paopao and Kani Kauahi headed to Hamilton as offensive co-ordinator and O-line coach, respectively. The Ticats yesterday created openings at those positions with the firing of Jamie Barresi and Mark Murray, as well as receivers coach Paul LaPolice.

Paopao is likely to keep his dance card clean for awhile to see if he can land another head-coaching job, however.

Meanwhile, his successor in Ottawa spent much of yesterday as he had the day before, in 1-on-1 meetings with players. Jenkins says he's now had a face-to-face with "three-fourths of the guys" and he'll get together with others today.

"Quite often, when changes like this are made, the players are a month-and-a-half removed from the city," said Jenkins. "By the time they meet (the new coach) there's lots of apprehension and tension. This has been a real blessing for me."

His next order of business includes prearranged scouting trips to Texas and Los Angeles that began Friday and will take him out of town for two weeks. Priorities then will include the hiring of a U.S. scouting director, "someone to replace me," said Jenkins. He'll also be on the search to find a Canadian talent scout.

From there, Jenkins will set about filling out his coaching staff. While he'll handle the role of offensive co-ordinator himself, six assistants will be hired: A receivers coach, offensive line coach, a special teams and running backs coach, a defensive co-ordinator (who will also coach a position) and two other defensive coaches. He'll also sign up a quality control assistant, who will handle the breakdown of film and computer data as well as prepare scouting reports.

While refusing to name candidates for the vacancies, Jenkins did rule out rehiring a member of Paopao's staff. There had been speculation defensive line coach Richard Harris would possibly be interviewed.

"Richard is a dang good coach," said Jenkins, "but I think players expect a new guy to make changes, and I'm going to give them that."

Meanwhile, the firing of Daley surprised Jenkins.

"Jim Daley is an excellent coach," he said. "He has a lot of coaching background ... he's done a wonderful job wherever he's been."

Could Daley return home to be an assistant under Jenkins? Possibly, but Daley did quit the Rough Riders when they were owned by the Gliebermans and they demanded defensive lineman Dexter Manley get a chance to play.

There have been whispers that Dunigan could join Jenkins staff, but that too seems unlikely. While they had a strong bond in their quarterback-offensive co-ordinator relationship, Dunigan did fire Jenkins in Calgary last season.

Jenkins expects Dunigan wants to coach again, though, and would neither dismiss nor acknowledge his chances of winding up here.

He said working on TV, after having a taste of coaching, was "like looking out the saloon windows at the gunfight on the street. And it ain't no fun looking out the windows."

Jenkins said his staff might not be filled until February, and that CFL experience in candidates was a plus but not exactly necessary.

"It's good to have a blend of youth and experience," he said. "But this is not about on the job training. We are going to be very dedicated to getting this thing back on track after 30 years of losing. Guys won't be coming in off the street or from youth programs. I'm not interested in that. It'll be like, 'Show me your film. I want to see how your players play. I want to see if they're intense. Show me your film.' "

EXTRA POINTS: Renegades LB Kyries Hebert was yesterday named the CFL's defensive player of the week. Hebert had three interceptions in the season-ending victory over Toronto.


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