Grey Cup win­ner in 2013, Cham­blin back as Argo coach

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - EVAN RAD­FORD

REGINA — It will be a home­com­ing of sorts for Corey Cham­blin.

The Toronto Arg­onauts de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor re­turns to Regina on Satur­day night for the first time since he was fired as Saskatchewan’s head coach in 2015. Cham­blin spent three-plus sea­sons with the Rid­ers, lead­ing them to a Grey Cup ti­tle in 2013 be­fore be­ing dis­missed along with GM Bren­dan Ta­man on Aug. 31, 2015, fol­low­ing the club’s 0-9 start.

Cham­blin re­turned to the CFL this off-sea­son when he joined new Ar­gos coach Marc Trest­man’s staff.

But with the Rid­ers now play­ing at the new Mo­saic Sta­dium, Cham­blin isn’t ex­pect­ing to feel nos­tal­gic when he steps on to the field. In fact, he fig­ures play­ing in the new fa­cil­ity will be an ad­van­tage for Toronto.

“The sta­dium is not there ... there’s only a cou­ple play­ers (re­main­ing from his ten­ure),” Cham­blin said. “So it’s re­ally like a new or­ga­ni­za­tion, a new time — it’s just dif­fer­ent.

“I def­i­nitely won’t feel like, ‘Oh man, this is the side­line, this is the turf and I re­mem­ber this.’”

Cham­blin of­ten cites Pitts­burgh Steel­ers head coach Mike Tom­lin as one of his men­tors and said work­ing with Trest­man — a noted of­fen­sive guru who has CFL and NFL coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence — has helped give him a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

“I’m able to see it through the of­fen­sive side,” he said. “Be­ing a de­fen­sive coach and be­ing able to work for a head coach with his acu­men and be­ing an of­fen­sive guru like he is, I see the game in a whole dif­fer­ent light.”

Toronto (3-2) sits atop the East Divi­sion fol­low­ing its 27-24 home win over the Ot­tawa Red­blacks on Mon­day night. Not only will the Ar­gos be play­ing for the se­cond time in five nights (kick­off at 6:30 p.m.) but they face hav­ing to suit up for three con­tests in 11 days.

Toronto’s de­fence is def­i­nitely banged up. Line­backer Bear Woods re­turns af­ter miss­ing the se­cond half Mon­day fol­low­ing con­cus­sion pro­to­col, but de­fen­sive line­man Victor But­ler and Cleyon Laing also suf­fered knee in­juries in the game and won’t make the trip to Saskatchewan.

The loss of But­ler and Laing is big con­sid­er­ing they’ve com­bined for 10 sacks this year and helped an­chor a de­fence that leads the CFL in sacks (17) and is se­cond in fewest yards al­lowed (309 per game).

Saskatchewan (1-3) strug­gled of­fen­sively in the first half of last week’s 27-10 loss to Cal­gary. The Stam­ped­ers surged to a 17-0 half­time ad­van­tage as the Rid­ers mus­tered just 251 yards and al­lowed five sacks.

“It didn’t look any pret­tier the se­cond, third or fourth time we watched it,” said Chris Jones, the Rid­ers head coach/GM.

Cal­gary starter Bo Levi Mitchell, the CFL’s out­stand­ing player last year, was 16-of-28 pass­ing for 253 yards with two touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion. But run­ning back Jerome Mes­sam, the league’s lead­ing rusher in 2016, ran for 135 yards on 28 car­ries and a TD.

Vet­eran Rid­ers quar­ter­back Kevin Glenn com­pleted 20-of-29 passes for 203 yards but did be­come just the sev­enth player in CFL his­tory to pass for more than 50,000 ca­reer yards.

Jones said some­thing the Rid­ers did learn from fac­ing Cal­gary was how its re­ceivers were able to ini­ti­ate con­tact with op­pos­ing de­fen­sive backs while run­ning their pass routes in or­der to draw pass in­ter­fer­ence or il­le­gal con­tact penal­ties.

MARK TAY­LOR, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

It will be a home­com­ing of sorts for Corey Cham­blin, who re­turns to Regina Satur­day as de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor of the Toronto Arg­onauts.

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