Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stampeders Coach Dickenson Likely to Be Second-Guessed for Key Grey Cup Call

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stampeders Coach Dickenson Likely to Be Second-Guessed for Key Grey Cup Call

Article excerpt

Decision leaves Dickenson to be questioned


TORONTO - Calgary Stampeders rookie head coach Dave Dickenson pressed all the right buttons during his team's remarkable CFL season.

He led Calgary to a CFL-best 15-2-1 mark, the 15 victories a single-season league record for a first-year head coach. He was the overwhelming choice as coach of the year in voting by the Football Reporters of Canada and his coaching peers.

But with the Grey Cup on the line Sunday, Dickenson left himself wide open to be second-guessed.

After trailing Ottawa 27-7 in the third quarter, Calgary had whittled the deficit to 33-30 late in regulation. And the CFL's most potent offence, anchored by league MVP Bo Levi Mitchell at quarterback and rushing leader Jerome Messam, was second-and-goal at the Redblacks' two-yard line.

Dickenson decided to go with his short-yardage team, replacing Mitchell with Canadian rookie Andrew Buckley and moving the six-foot-three, 254-pound Messam -- the CFL's top Canadian this season -- up front to provide blocking support. The move wasn't without logic as the six-foot, 203-pound Buckley had eight rushing TDs on the year and scored on a one-yard run earlier in the game.

This time, though, Abdul Kanneh tackled Buckley for a one-yard loss and Calgary had to settle for a field goal to force overtime. Game MVP Henry Burris opened the extra session with an 18-yard TD strike to Ernest Jackson before the Redblacks' defence clinched the improbable 39-33 win by forcing Calgary's offence to go three-and-out.

The burning question was why, with the game on the line, didn't Dickenson call on Messam, who'd scored 11 rushing TDs during the regular season. Also, it was Messam's six-yard run that put Calgary at the Ottawa two-yard line.

"Either or," he said. "I'm sure you guys thought that and it might be the right case. We didn't necessarily have a great running game anyway. I gave him the look there on first down and he did a nice job, so we easily could've done something like that. …

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