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New head coach’s experience and leadership sees Redblacks playing with heavy dice

Photo credit: Scott Grant/

Sometimes what you are looking for is right in front of you.

General Manager Sean Burke interviewed and paid due attention to several candidates, but ultimately it was the Ottawa Redblacks who would return to their honorable ranks and lead them to postseason glory. I’ve decided that he’s the one who’s finished his year as the team’s interim head coach.

At a press conference introducing his new head coach, Burke said that each organization has people who can be considered the heart of the franchise, and for everyone working at Lansdowne, Bob Dyce is one such person. If you’ve spent any time around him or seen him interact with R-Nation players and members, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment.

More importantly, Dyce exudes experience and leadership. Let’s start before the first, go to the latter.

Before joining the CFL in 2003 as receiver coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Dice played the same role with the University of Manitoba Bisons. Prior to that, he was an offensive coordinator and assistant coach in the Canadian He Junior Football League (CJFL).

After settling in the Canadian Professional Football League, Dyce spent six seasons in Winnipeg before moving to Regina, where he won the Gray Cup ring for five seasons, playing a variety of roles. He has worked everything from passing game coordinator, receiver coach, offensive he coordinator, special teams coach, and eventually interim head he coach.

Since the start of the 2016 Gray Cup winning season, Dyce has managed the Redblacks’ special teams. He’s one of the most solid and productive teams in the league year after year.

One of the great benefits of Dice rising through the various levels of the Canadian game is that he fully understands the details and nuances of three-down football. He’s seen it all, and thanks to the different hats he’s worn, he’s done it all.

It’s the kind of experience you can’t buy. It has to be developed over years and decades. His players always know when to not give up their rouge.

When it comes to leadership, it’s undeniable that players will react to the 56-year-old’s demeanor. To the fact that when he was named interim head coach following the dismissal of Paul Lapolis, the Redblacks roster responded by finishing the last four games with the energy sorely lacking for much of the season. Nonetheless. While it didn’t lead to many wins — Ottawa went 1-3 in 2022 in command of the Dice — the team played hard through a stretch that should have been easy to check out. Did.

What’s more, the large contingent of players who showed up to witness his introductory presser says a lot about how much Dice is loved by the men he’s going to lead.

It’s worth noting that when Dice moved into the role of head coach later in the season, he wasn’t given a full hand. It was a young quarterback coach who had never been there before and lacked the primary weapons of Jeron Achrin and Devonte Dedmon.

One of the interesting results of this process is the choice to drop the interim title and name Dice as head coach, ensuring that GM Sean Burke has an important voice in his ears and will be making a roster decision this winter. to help form the

Someone who spent most of the season with players on the fringes of the roster, better suited to offer an opinion on who to re-sign or release than those who beat it on special teams. Who are the people? Many head coaches spend the majority of their time with starters, or more specifically with players who start on the side of the ball who consider themselves experts.On special teams Dice, who has an extensive background in the United States, has worked with players on both sides of the ball, from starters to practicing roster players.

Dice’s familiarity with the bottom end of a roster could be an asset to Burke.

As much as the two-time Gray Cup winner is the right person for the job, the people he chooses to surround himself with ultimately determine how successful his tenure with the Redblacks will be. Decide.

Dyce should include an experienced offensive coordinator on staff who can fully focus on system installation and weekly opponent game planning. Strange as it may sound, Ottawa has not had a true full-time offensive coordinator since Jamie Elizondo’s abrupt resignation six weeks before 2019 training camp began.

Ottawa’s new head coach will need to move quickly given that Saskatchewan and Montreal are also looking for a new offensive coordinator. , it looks like former CFL quarterback Kari Jones is set to join Ottawa’s dice and fill that vacancy. It will be a big step to improve the attack that was toothless.

As for the ball’s defense, it remains to be seen if Dice will choose to keep Mike Benevides in his current position or prefer to move in a new direction. Sometimes it was, but it was often lacking at the most crucial moments.

Finally, Dyce hinted that although he plans to hire a special team coach, he will closely monitor these units and provide input as needed. Considering his track record of success as a special teams coach, that’s not a bad thing at all.

By choosing to make Dyce the third head coach in franchise history, Burke firmly tied his future and legacy to this decision. We talked about getting closer to partnerships and moving away from hierarchies. Those are the words that comfort R-Nation.

After all, if Winnipeg is the league’s model franchise and everyone is trying to imitate it, then the Blue Bombers’ decision to hire a special teams coach for the top job a few years ago worked. It is no exaggeration to say that

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