After a year away from the sidelines, Doug Berry is returning to the CFL game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Berry, who was fired in 2008 after three seasons as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was named the assistant head coach and offensive co-ordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday.
“It’s an opportunity to get back to the CFL, which I really love,” Berry said from his home in Massachusetts. “I love the brand of football and this is a team that’s had success the last couple of years. It just seemed like the right fit.”
Berry — who led the Blue Bombers to the 2007 Grey Cup against the Roughriders — chuckled, then provided some insight when asked if it would be interesting being on the other side of the heated prairie rivalary.
“I don’t know about that,” said Berry, who was replaced by Mike Kelly after the 2008 season. “Of course, the Winnipeg/Saskatchewan game isn’t until Labour Day. As a coach, your allegience changes so quickly, whether you’re at the collegiate level or the professional level. When you leave one team and go to the next team, your whole attitude changes and so do your colours. Obviously, you want to (win) them all and if you place more emphasis on winning one over the other, there’s something wrong with the others.”
Berry kept close tabs on the CFL last year, catching games on TV and the internet and doing depth charts for each of the teams around the league.
“I stayed tuned to what was happening in the CFL,” said Berry, who also watched NCAA and NFL games. “I’ve just been a football junkie over the last year. In addition to that, I did a lot of projects on the house we bought. I didn’t take up golf quite yet. It’s good to be back. I’m really looking forward to it and anxious to get started.”
Berry is excited about the opportunity to work with what should be a dangerous offence.
“We’ve got a young quarterback (Darian Durant) and you can see his maturation — he’s come a long way,” said Berry. “We’ve got some young quarterback talent and if you look at the Canadian depth at receiver and the O-line. As you know, to be successful in the CFL you’ve got to have success from your Canadian talent.”