Ti­cats coach gets help from old boss

Hamil­ton’s new head coach in rare po­si­tion of be­ing the boss of his for­mer boss Jones

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - TED WYMAN [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/ted_wy­man

When Or­londo Stein­auer steps on the foot­ball field for the first time this spring, he’ll be do­ing so as the boss of his old boss.

It’s a unique sit­u­a­tion for the 45-year-old Hamil­ton Tigercats head coach, as his of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor will be June Jones, the man who stepped down to al­low Stein­auer to take over.

“I don’t know how many times that has re­ally hap­pened,” Stein­auer said this week at the CFL winter meetings. “I think it’s a unique sit­u­a­tion and it speaks vol­umes to June him­self for be­ing will­ing to do that. The fact he’s stay­ing on as the OC is huge.”

Stein­auer, a for­mer all-star de­fen­sive back and two-time Grey Cup cham­pion, was the Tiger-cats de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor from 2013-16 and spent 2017 in the same po­si­tion at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, Fresno.

He re­turned to the Ti­cats last sea­son as as­sis­tant head coach to Jones and was el­e­vated when the team feared los­ing him to open­ings in B.C. or Toronto this sea­son. “Some­times it just hap­pens for you in life,” Stein­auer said. “The op­por­tu­nity was now and this one of those chances to seize.”

Hav­ing the 65-year-old Jones, an of­fen­sive guru who has been a head coach in the NFL and NCAA, on board is noth­ing but a bonus for Stein­auer in his first year on the job.

“He already has the re­spect of the men in the room,” Stein­auer said.

“The fact that he sees enough value in me after a year — of course he’s heard about me ... he does his home­work and he knows my his­tory — but I think for him see­ing value in me stay­ing in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, not pur­su­ing the B.C. or the Toronto op­por­tu­nity, it re­ally so­lid­i­fied for me that this is where I was sup­posed to be.

“I’m grate­ful for that.”

Stein­auer is still fill­ing out the rest of his coach­ing staff, but has hired Jeff Reinebold, a long­time CFL as­sis­tant and for­mer head coach, to be his spe­cial teams co-or­di­na­tor, adding more ex­pe­ri­ence to an already learned staff.

While there’s some am­bi­gu­ity with re­gard to what his ros­ter will look like next sea­son — as with ev­ery team due to uncer­tainty sur­round­ing labour ne­go­ti­a­tions — Stein­auer likes the core the Tiger-cats have com­ing back.

It starts with most out­stand­ing player fi­nal­ist Jeremiah Ma­soli at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion.

“We have a great quar­ter­back and he’s a great per­son and a great leader,” Stein­auer said. “Peo­ple fol­low him.

“From there, ev­ery team is faced with the same thing. It’s un­known. This will be the first time that we’re all try­ing to get all these play­ers (in free agency) and some peo­ple you’re not go­ing to be able to re-sign and some peo­ple you are. I’m look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge, but I do think there’s a core group of play­ers you want and ev­ery­thing should fall into place as to what you can re­ally of­fer.”

Ma­soli had a fan­tas­tic sea­son in 2018, throw­ing for 5,209 yards and lead­ing the Tiger-cats to an 8-10 record and a home play­off win over the B.C. Lions.

But the Ti­cats have 35 play­ers who could be­come free agents on Feb. 12, in­clud­ing star re­ceiver Bran­don Banks and star lineback­ers Si­moni Lawrence and Larry Dean.

“No team ever looks the same,” Stein­auer said, re­sign­ing him­self to the fact that some play­ers will be mov­ing on.

“I do like our cur­rent core, but there are some other key core play­ers out there that I think it would be in our best in­ter­ests to make strong of­fers to.”

DAVE ABEL/FILES

Or­londo Stein­auer was el­e­vated to head coach in Hamil­ton amid fears he would jump ship for open­ings in Toronto or Van­cou­ver.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.