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Thread: Saskatchewan Huskies New Era Begins

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default The challenge for Scott Flory: Win. Now.

    With the 2017 Dogs' Breakfast concluded and the spring camp about to get underway, the Scott Flory era is officially upon us.

    It goes without saying that Coach Flory has a monumental task ahead of him. He must now build a national contender to make up for the decade of playoff disappointments, of which he was a part for the last three seasons.

    Many of us were shocked by the hiring of Flory, who had been hand-picked as the successor by the previous staff (as though it was their decision to make). We expected a big name, a move similar to that which saw Blake Nill become the UBC head coach. After a long search that would undoubtedly affect this year's recruiting class, the announcement of a coach with U-Sports and/or professional experience who had a record of success both on the field and on the recruiting trail was expected.

    Instead, Huskie Athletics picked the guy who was under their nose the whole time. The circus of a hiring process was described by Jim Mullin and Mike Hogan on the March 16 edition of Krown Countdown U Radio -- a well-placed source confirmed their descriptions as accurate. After the mishandling of Brian Towriss' departure, this infuriated fans like me who expected a truly thorough process that would land a football coach of some renown in Canadian college football.

    The announcement of Flory brought out several visceral reactions from those of us who were expecting a major change in direction for the program. Perhaps they were a bit strident, but they were genuine. We expected more. We expected better. What the hiring of Flory signaled to many of us was what we saw for the last ten years was going to continue; that the status quo was what we should expect.

    The events of the past six months put Scott Flory in a tough position. He is now under several microscopes and is the person responsible for delivering the change in direction and deviation from the past so many of the core fans crave. Arguably, since he coached and played under the previous regime, the pressure on him is much greater than would have been on a coach with no Huskie ties. He has to work that much harder to prove that he can be a true leader for the program and take it down a new path of playoff success.

    This week's announcement of his coaching staff is a good indication that Flory is forging his own way and is willing to try new approaches. Notably, the addition of former CFL quarterback and coach Marcus Crandell as the offensive coordinator shows that Flory wants more from the offence than he was able to bring during his time as the OC.

    And while there were five coaches retained and several former Huskies added to the coaching staff, they are hardly the old-guard guard coaches that have been around the team for decades. New defensive coordinator Warren Muzika brings several years of experience as a coach with the Saskatoon Hilltops and as a player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Receivers coach Duane Dmytryshyn played for the likes of Wally Buono and Don Matthews over his eight years in the CFL, and defensive backs coach Paul Woldu, like Flory, played for Mark Trestman and others in the CFL. With all this experience from outside of the traditional Huskie sphere of influence, there will surely be a playbook overhaul and new atmosphere around the team.

    Flory's comments on hiring Jerry Friesen as special teams coordinator and senior advisor were a promising sign, as he acknowledged his own lack of experience at this level and that he would rely on the advice of the former Alberta Golden Bear head coach.

    Another change Flory has made is creating a position for a dedicated recruiting coordinator. Recently, recruiting was handled by other coaches (Jason Sulz and Brian Guebert), but having an employee dedicated to it should allow for the expansion of the program. Flory said he wants to pursue recruiting beyond the traditional areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, and this is a good first step.

    As expected, the recruiting class introduced at the Dogs' Breakfast was underwhelming. However, there are still a few bright spots, like receiver David Solie, running back Shakur Harris and defensive lineman Bryce Liwiski, who all may be able to come in and make the roster. Flory said he will be looking to add to the 14 introduced today, and he will need to, as the already thin receiving corps may take a major hit if Julan Lynch and Mitch Hillis make CFL rosters.

    The lack of depth at receiver and the defensive line notwithstanding, Flory inherits a talented and veteran team. This is a team that was expected by many to have a good playoff run last year, but once again disappointed in the semi-final round.

    Because he is inheriting a solid roster, the pressure will be on Flory to deliver immediate results. However, there is another factor that will compound the need to deliver an immediate winner: The dramatic turn-around of the Regina Rams by Stephen Bryce last season.

    Bryce inherited a team that went 0-8 the previous season and, like Flory, he had an abbreviated recruiting season to work with. Still, he was able to take the team from worst-to-first, posting a 6-2 record before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. And he was able to do it without the benefit of any U-Sports coaching experience.

    Like it or not, Bryce set the standard for first-year head coaches last year and Scott Flory will be expected to equal or better that performance. Unlike Bryce, Flory will have to do that in a town with all eyes on him, including the media. Saskatoon is likely the second-most difficult place to coach U-Sports football after Laval thanks to the high profile of the team within the community.

    The margin for error and first-year leeway is small for Flory. A lot is expected of him, both on the field and in his interaction with the fans and media, an area where the personable and always friendly Brian Towriss excelled. He's made some good moves thus far, and he will need to continue those to win over the Huskie fan base and help us forget some of the awful moments of the past few years.
    Last edited by Snake Wilson; 2017-05-04 at 13:13. Reason: Poor proofreading the first time

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