Q & A with Ottawa RedBlacks coach, GM

Ottawa RedBlacks general manager Marcel Desjardins, left, and coach Rick Campbell, right. (QMI...

Ottawa RedBlacks general manager Marcel Desjardins, left, and coach Rick Campbell, right. (QMI Agency)

Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

OTTAWA - As the Ottawa RedBlacks get closer and closer to the 2014 CFL season, more pieces keep falling into place.

There's a GM, Marcel Desjardins, heading up a football operations department, there's a head coach, Rick Campbell and a whole whack of coaches — who were announced mid-afternoon on Friday.

And there are players — 24 added through Monday's CFL expansion draft, an increasing number of free agents and four “redshirted” players taken in last spring's draft.

We brought Desjardins and Campbell into our war room at Ottawa Sun central on Friday to answer questions from local football fans. Here's a sample of what went down:

SUN: Give us a capsule view of the expansion draft.

DESJARDINS: We are quite happy with the way it worked out. We were pleasantly surprised with a couple of the guys (Patrick Lavoie and Keith Shologan) who were available later on and we pounced all over those two guys.

READER: I noticed that not all the draftees have expressed joy over being selected by the RedBlacks — or have been silent. Marwan Hage seems definitely non-commital and one gets the sense he might retire. Haven't seen any reaction from Shologan. Kohlert basically said he's waiting out his free agency. How much of a disappointment/concern is it that not all CFL players are eager to come to Ottawa?

CAMPBELL: All the guys I've talked to are excited about it, and they are excited about the Ottawa situation. Some guys are emotional in the moment and that's not a bad thing. It means they care. But as the days go by, they see the potential we have here in Ottawa.

READER: Any update on when the uniforms will be unveiled?

DESJARDINS: We're just putting the finishing touches on the design and obviously to manufacture takes while. I think they're awesome because I was involved in the design (with a chuckle).

CAMPBELL: I can tell you they will be red and black.

READER: Did you feel that the quality of unprotected punters/kickers was mediocre or just not worth a pick? And if so, are you looking more at free agency or trades to fill those positions?

CAMPBELL: It was just how it fell. We were trying to stick to a plan of taking the best players available and the way the whole thing shook down, that's just the way it was. But obviously we will be in hot pursuit of both a kicker and a punter.

SUN: You will hold a tryout camp in Ottawa in the spring. Will that be invitation only?

DESJARDINS: We'll certainly identify people who we think should be there, but it'll be open. There will be a lot of players showing up from the U.S., too.

SUN: What will the schedule look like?

DESJARDINS: We are looking at the first home game the third week of July. But we've requested a bye the first week of the season. That will facilitate us moving from our temporary offices into our new offices while moving out of training camp, and will give us a extra week of preparation as well.

READER: Rick, I really liked what you said in terms of not forcing a system, but adapting to the talent you have.. However, for you as a coach, what are your keys or ideology for success in the CFL?

CAMPBELL: Usually the things that determine the game will be who wins the special teams battle, who wins the turnover battle and who takes the least penalties.

READER: When picking Kevin Glenn over I would assume was Drew Tate, what was the difference maker?

CAMPBELL: They're both very good players and I don't think you could go wrong with either one of them. The one quality Kevin has is he's very steady. We are a young team that is going to go through some growing pains. He is a leader that is going to be steady, in good times or bad times.


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