Many people don’t get to work at their dream job, but for Kelly Jeffrey, his fantasy has become a reality.
Jeffrey was promoted to the team’s offensive coordinator position during the off-season after serving as the team’s running back coach.
Running the offence for a team like the Roughriders is something the former Mount Allison head coach has always wanted to do.
“Kind of the things you can dream up and put on paper can come to life.”
Jeffrey added, “University sport, or NCAA, NIA in the places I’ve been, sometimes I draw things on paper and they can’t physically do those things but yeah they can do just about anything here.”
Besides their physical abilities, another thing that has impressed the Roughriders offensive coordinator has been the player’s intelligence.
“So many have been in pro camps, or in NFL camps or they’ve been around a long time.”
One of the reasons that some American players can quickly pick up on the dialogue is because they’re being exposed to aspects of the Canadian game at the NCAA level, as Jeffrey points out.
“We’re trying to bring me of that mentality up here, use some perimeter screens, things like that.”
A player the Roughriders will try and utilize on offence this season is returner Mario Alford. The 32-year-old displayed his explosive skills in 2022 in the return game that led him to be named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Jeffrey says the plan for the team is to find a way to get the ball to Alford, whether he’s lined up as a receiver or in the offensive backfield.
“You have your three, four, five plays a game and it could be anywhere. ”
One of the highlights of Tuesday’s practice was fullback Albert Awachie coming out of the backfield and hauling in a touchdown grab. Jeffrey believes that’s an example of why every player has to understand each role in the offence.
“Whether you’re a receiver, you need to know that fullback position, if you’re a fullback, you need to know the receiver. If you’re a receiver and fullback you need to know the tight end position and vice versa.”
He added the more versatile an offence can be, the more difficulty a defence will face trying to read the trends of the opposing offence.
Besides the game planning that comes with the offensive coordinator, Jeffrey adds that he has to provide the right example for the players.
“When you’re on the sidelines, you know, those offensive guys they’ll take on your personality, so you have to be careful.”
Jeffrey continued, “If you’re losing it all the time, they will too.”
When a mistake occurs, he adds not to dwell on it.
“You got a team you’re coaching, you want those guys to have that type of attitude of next play mentality, something goes wrong you got to overcome it.”
Training Camp Day 3 Notebook
— A couple of injury notes from Tuesday. Offensive lineman Jordan Tucker went down with an injury. Following practice, Head Coach Craig Dickenson said they will know more about the injury when they get additional testing completed.
— Tevin Jones has been bothered by a knee injury he originally suffered last year. According to Dickenson, the receiver underwent a procedure during the off-season, but the recovery has been slower than expected. The Riders head coach said they will take it easy on Jones likely for the duration of camp.
— The biggest applause during practice was the touchdown reception by Awachie. Dickenson described the fullback as a great teammate. “Albert’s one of those guys that will run through a wall for you.”
— Tonight, the Riders will have to trim their rosters down to 75.