Friend a foe on game day
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
|Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin shouts during their CFL football game against the BC Lions in Vancouver, British Columbia August 19, 2012. (Reuters/ANDY CLARK)
TORONTO - Chris Jones first crossed paths with Corey Chamblin at Tennessee Tech and helped Chamblin get his first coaching gig in three-down football.But don’t expect any pleasantries on Monday when the two meet.
As much as the Argos’ defensive co-ordinator respects Chamblin and envisioned the day when Chamblin would serve as a head coach, he’s in the business to win and it’s Jones’ business to beat Chamblin’s Roughriders.
If some eye contact is made, Jones will acknowledge Chamblin, whom Jones hired to serve as his defensive backs coach when Jones took over Calgary’s defence.
“He gets them to play hard, they get the football on the ground,’’ said Jones of Saskatchewan’s defence. “It’s just not my stuff. We’ve come up with it together.
“Any time you have a staff, you have input from everyone. That’s the thing I can see. He’s taken some of the things we’ve done well and implemented them.”
Before he joined Rider Nation, Chamblin spent one season as Hamilton’s defensive co-ordinator.
Over the years, both Jones and Chamblin have been exposed to some of football’s top defensive coaches, including current Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
At Tennessee Tech, Jones was a graduate assistant in 1995 working with the defensive line, while Chamblin was a student/athlete who lined up in the program’s secondary.
“He was a good player,’’ Jones said. “He was studious.”
It was Jones who introduced Chamblin to Doug Berry, Winnipeg’s head coach who hired Chamblin in 2007.
Jones enticed Chamblin to join his staff in Calgary the following year, beginning a three-year run in Cowtown.
“He’s done an excellent job,’’ Jones said of Chamblin. “He’s extremely intelligent and he’s been around some good people.”
It goes without saying, though, that Chamblin has put his own imprint on the Roughriders.
Offensively, Saskatchewan is only as good as quarterback Darian Durant.
Like any offence, balance must be achieved and there’s a solid running presence in Kory Sheets, who needs 78 yards for a 1,000-yard season, and a lethal passing game highlighted by 1,000-yard receiver Weston Dressler.
“The offence goes through Durant,’’ said Jones. “He’s one of the best in the league and he plays with a lot of energy.
“There are a lot of weapons and they are certainly well coached.”
INMAN HAVIN' A BALL
It didn’t take very long for Dontrelle Inman to notice the difference in the way Jarious Jackson and Ricky Ray throw the football.
“Everybody knows Jarious throws a different ball,’’ said Inman, the first-year Argos receiver who is a bona-fide deep threat. “It’s harder, it gets on you faster. It’s a heavy ball.
“Ricky has a little bit more touch, Jarious has touch at times, but the majority of Jarious’ balls get on you fast. It’s a pretty hard ball.”
When rookie head coach Scott Milanovich installed his offence, the first occasion to introduce it arrived at the team’s quarterbacks camp back in the off-season, a session that featured some veteran pass catchers.
Jackson, who is comfortable in the system, went almost three months before any first-team snaps in a game.
“He’s the same-old Jarious,’’ said Inman. “He’s been there, he’s done that, Jarious is a champion. And once you’re a champion, you’re always a champion. I guess you can say he’s back in his persona.”
At least until Ray is healthy enough to return, which may happen by as early as next week.