“Whether or not there are changes, the players, coaches, the GM and me, we are certainly going to be held accountable. At some point there will probably be a change.”-- Vice President of football operations, Ken Miller, outlining his thoughts on the woeful Riders season thus far, on August 15, 2011.
Change as foreshadowed by Ken Miller came to Saskatchewan on Friday, with Miller himself now the key ingredient to the decisions out of the Saskatchewan bunker command.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a significant house cleaning on Friday, the fall out from a 1-7 start to the season, as Rider management decided that Head Coach Greg Marshall's debut as the head man of a football squad had run its course.
Along with the announced firing of Marshall on Friday, offensive coordinator Doug Berry was also terminated, indicative we guess of the main concern of GM Brendan Taman and the top brass of the Riders, that being an anemic offence that hasn't registered much in the way of points for the scoreboard.
To change that dynamic and try to rebuild from where they left off in November, the Riders have brought back to the sidelines last years coach, Ken Miller. Upon the decision post Grey Cup for Miller to step aside, he moved upstairs to the position of Vice President of football operations, where we imagine with growing alarm he watched the Riders unravel, apparently not receiving their new coach Marshall's messages and clearly not on the same page as their offensive coordinator Berry.
With growing concern seeping into every corner of the RiderNation, change was clearly in the air (as outlined earlier this week by the VP) and with the loss to the Argos on Thursday night, change arrived in the form of the twin dismissals on Friday.
We're not sure that tying the can to Marshall is a just result, he really hasn't had the time to make this team his team after but 8 games, but when you're the Riders who clearly don't want to return to the dark days of losing seasons, time isn't apparently on your side.
As in any sport, and it's particularly true for football due to the numbers on the roster alone, it's clearly easier to get rid of the coach, than to address the shortcomings that are clearly on the field.
Whether Miller can turn around the team remains to be seen, he clearly was well loved and respected by his players in their two Grey Cup treks of the last two seasons, a quest that didn't end in a Grey Cup victory much to the disappointment of the RiderNation.
It's doubtful that at this point it's realistic to expect a third straight appearance in the national final in November, but at the moment Rider fans might be satiated with just a couple of wins, judging by the trials and tribulations that Marshall went through over eight games, it's an onerous task that Miller returns to the sidelines for.
However, as the Regina Leader Post's Rob Vanstone so carefully catalogues for us, August is indeed a very dangerous month for Rider coaches, all we can say is in Saskatchewan, beware the Ides of August...
Some of the reviews and fallout of Friday's decision can be found below.
Globe and Mail-- Riders fire coach Greg Marshall
Regina Leader Post-- Rider fire Greg Marshall and Doug Berry, Ken Miller takes over as head coach
Regina Leader Post-- Saskatchewan Roughriders made the right move
Regina Leader Post-- Reaction on Twitter to the firing of Riders head coach Greg Marshall
Regina Leader Post-- An assortment of Rider-related items that did not make the paper
Regina Leader Post-- Quotes from Ken Miller and Brendan Taman on today's firings
Regina Leader Post-- Marshall, Berry fired
Winnipeg Sun-- Marshall's dream job gone to hell
Winnipeg Sun-- Marshall Plan fails