Riders HC Corey Mace believes he has the right ingredients for a successful coaching staff

They may be new faces in Saskatchewan, but there is a lot of familiarity with Corey Mace and his coaching staff.

Last month, Marc Mueller was named the Offensive Coordinator, with Kent Maugeri returning as the Special Teams Coach.

The remaining coaches were revealed on Monday.

HC Corey Mace. Photo: Blaine Weyland

Mace joined Michael Ball on the Sportscage to discuss the first coaching staff he has assembled with the Roughriders.

The only positional coach retained from the 2023 Saskatchewan coaching staff is Anthony Vitale. After spending last season in charge of the offensive line, Vitale will become the team’s Running Backs coach. Mace said Vitale’s experience coaching the offensive line will help the running backs understand the team’s blocking scheme.

“He’s obviously got a great rapport with the guys,” said the Port Moody, B.C. product. “You got two o-line minds to look at protection, to keep our quarterback upright.”

One of Mace’s former teammates in Calgary, Edwin Harrison, will take over Vitale as the Roughriders Offensive Line Coach. Last year, Harrison was the Argonauts Running Backs Coach and Run Game Coordinator, with the Roughriders Head Coach believing this is a natural progression for the former Stampeder to become the offensive line coach and his familiarity with the offensive scheme will help in Saskatchewan.

“Him being able to understand the scheme between Toronto and Calgary from an offensive standpoint, while it will be different, a lot of the nucleus of it still remains.”

Joining Mace and Harrison as former Stampeder players on the coaching staff is the new Receivers Coach, Marquay McDaniel. Mace classified McDaniel as “Mr. Do It All.”

“He was the guy who was going to stick his nose in it,” said the Roughriders Head Coach, “that was his mentality in how he played the game and how he coaches.”

Mace thinks McDaniel will also help the receivers with their blocking skills as a part of the Roughriders blocking scheme.

On the defensive side of the ball, Mace has enlisted Josh Bell and J.C. Sherritt to assist him with defensive coordinator duties. Bell will coach the defensive backs and has the title of passing game coordinator, while Sherritt will oversee the linebackers and is also the run game coordinator. In Mace’s vision, he sees both Bell and Sherritt as emerging coaching candidates and wants to give extra responsibility to both coaches.

“I want to put everyone in the best position to succeed, not only for us now, and for us in the future, but for them and their coaching careers as well.”

Like many of the other coaches on the Roughriders, the connection between Mace and his new Defensive Line coach, Philip Daniels, was established in Calgary. The former NFL defensive lineman was a frequent visitor to Cowtown when his son DeVaris was a wide receiver with the Stampeders. Over the years, “Big Phil” has developed a relationship with the Roughriders Head Coach. Daniels won a Super Bowl ring as a coach with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, and he told former Riders offensive line coach Bob Wylie that he plans on adding a Grey Cup ring to his collection.

Rounding out the staff is Defensive Assistant Jordan Linnen, who arrives in Saskatchewan after spending the last two years as the Edmonton Elks running backs coach and Jeff Higgins, who was the Head Coach for the Orlando Predators of the Arena League and has over 20 years of coaching experience.

According to Mace, all of his coaches possess one important trait: they are good people.

“I love guys who are excited to come to work and are excited to get to know each other and each other’s family.” The 39-year-old added that he believes the green and white has the right mix with their coaching staff.
“A lot of these guys I’m familiar with and ultimately you got to look at where they’ve been, the pedigree they have. There’s a lot of guys who coach for a long time, they come from a winning tradition.”

Mace added, “I’m excited to implement what we believe is our recipe to win, also take in the some of the other ingredients that guys are bringing in from elsewhere.”

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