Riders coaching search dependant on opposition

The Saskatchewan Roughriders may not be able to get the 'best man for the job' to replace the retiring Ken Miller.

They may end up with the best man available.

The Roughriders are weeks ahead of the competition on the search for the head coach and finding that coach and hiring that coach before other teams figure out their future may be for the best.

Lets go through the candidates from west to east.

B.C. Lions defensive coordinator Mike Benevides: Benevides has already turned down a head coaching gig (Toronto) to stay as the heir apparent in Vancouver. The issue of Wally Buono's future came up at the Coaches' News Conference on Wednesday before the Grey Cup.

It appears Buono may be closer to moving on than ever before. That would allow Benevides to make the easy transition and get his desired promotion to head coach of the team. Would Benevides even give up that simple move up the food chain in order to take over a team in transition like the Roughriders?

Calgary Stampeders offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson and defensive coordinator Chris Jones: Dickenson has the offensive flare and quarterback background the Roughriders seem to be seeking in the head coach or at least the offensive coordinator. Dickenson only moves on if he's offered a head coaching job.

Chris Jones has been around the league and is starting to become one of the coaches that is starting to become the most experienced assistant without a head coaching offer now that Greg Marshall and Richie Hall have added head coach to their resume over the last three years.

There is talk Hufnagel's tenure in Calgary may only be a year or two longer before handing the keys over to one of his assistants. So like Benevides, how interested will these two be in moving East knowing a promotion from within could be just around the corner.

Toronto Argonauts special teams coordinator Mike O'Shea: Who knows what's going to happen in Toronto this offseason. It may be safe to assume if Jim Barker hasn't moved aside as Head Coach already, he's likely not going anywhere.

O'Shea is one of the up and coming coaches in the league that is getting a lot of attention as more of his players gush about how great of a coach he has been in his two years on the sideline. A former player like O'Shea as head coach and Jim Barker finding the talent in the front office may be a great idea for the Argos for 2012.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin: He is the odds on favourite to be heading to Saskatchewan. But sometimes the horse with the best odds at the start of the race isn't at the top of the board when the horn sounds.

Chamblin impressed General Manager Brendan Taman in last year's go around of coaching interviews. Hamilton obviously was equally impressed by taking the defensive backs coach from Calgary and making him the defensive coordinator with Marcel Bellefeuille in place as the boss.

Bellefeuille is facing serious questions about whether mediocrity is all he can accomplish as a head coach. Is Chamblin in line to take over if Bob O'Billovich and Joe Womack decide a new voice is needed to get the Tiger-Cats three or four more wins next season?

Montreal Alouttes offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich: The situation in Montreal is similar to the one in Calgary. There's no reason for Marc Trestman to be forced out as head coach with one year left on his contract but every season there are rumours Trestman is being pulled back into the NCAA/NFL coaching circle.

And with Milanovich ready to take on a head coaching gig, Montreal may ask him to wait and see.

Milanovich almost had the job in Saskatchewan last season. It's doubtful Milanovich will wait around if a job comes up elsewhere and may want out of Montreal so he doesn't take over a team trying to get over the loss of Marc Trestman as well as quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

So you see how many things could go on this offseason to impact the Roughriders coaching search. But if they get the job done in two or three weeks, they may be well ahead of game and pull the rug out from under one of the seven teams they are battling with in 2012.

Two things are for sure. Any assistants in Edmonton and Winnipeg that may be of interest (Tim Burke and Marcus Crandell) have no coaching questions holding them back because Kavis Reed and Paul LaPolice aren't going anywhere soon.

And of course, there's always Richie Hall and Craig Dickenson who are willing to stay in green and put their stamp on the team.

I'm sure you're all wondering where Kent Austin fits in all of this. So am I.