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Corey Chamblin returning to Regina as Toronto Argonauts head coach

 Then-Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin carries the Grey Cup at old Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 24, 2013.
Then-Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin carries the Grey Cup at old Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 24, 2013. - Troy Fleece

Former Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin makes his return to Mosaic Stadium as the Argonauts head coach on Monday

REGINA, Sask. —

Corey Chamblin has first-hand experience in dealing with the impact of an early-season injury to his starting quarterback.

In 2015, Chamblin was the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach when Darian Durant suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon late in the second quarter of the Green and White’s regular-season opener against the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The injury sidelined Durant for the remainder of the 2015 season. Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman would be fired that year after the Riders lost their first nine games of the season.

Fast forward to 2019 and Riders rookie head coach Craig Dickenson is already dealing with a similar quarterback situation.

Dickenson lost Zach Collaros just three plays into the 2019 regular season when he was hit in the head by Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence. The hit led to Collaros being placed on the six-game injured list while dealing with a concussion.

“I definitely understand the position that Craig is in,” said Chamblin, who is to make his first appearance at Mosaic Stadium as the Toronto Argonauts’ head coach on Monday.

“I know how tough that can be in Saskatchewan. That’s a part of the gig and we all have things that we have to correct. (Quarterback) Cody (Fajardo) has stepped up and done some good things.”

Fajardo threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another major in the Riders’ 44-41 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on June 20.

Chamblin and Fajardo were both members of the Argonauts during the 2017 season when Toronto won the Grey Cup.

Chamblin was the defensive co-ordinator, defensive backs coach and assistant head coach while Fajardo was a backup quarterback and short-yardage specialist.

“I didn’t know him well, but I knew he was a competitor,” said Chamblin, who remains Toronto’s defensive co-ordinator in addition to the head-coaching duties. “He’s a football player and he showed it last week versus Ottawa. He has learned this game and he’s in a similar offence. He’s like the rest of them in that he has his ups and downs, but he’s on his way.”

Chamblin, 42, was Saskatchewan’s head coach from 2012 to 2015, leading the Roughriders to a 45-23 win over the Tiger-Cats in the 2013 Grey Cup game before a sold-out crowd at old Mosaic Stadium.

Chamblin didn’t sound sentimental when it comes to coaching at new Mosaic Stadium.

“That’s a new house and it’s not the one that I coached in,” Chamblin said. “I coached in the old house where all of the greats did and that’s a new stadium. Regina is always a special place. My son was born there and my family and I had some good years there.

“It’s like anything else. You move on in life. There aren’t any hard feelings or soft feelings. It will just be a great opportunity to play in a new stadium as the head coach and the defensive co-ordinator.”

The Argonauts, however, limp into Mosaic Stadium after a 64-14 loss to the visiting Tiger-Cats on Saturday. Chamblin is expecting more from the Argos on Monday.

“A lot of people think moving forward means forgetting about it and sweeping it under the rug,” Chamblin said. “Moving forward is learning a lesson from it. We were able to show some of the areas where we have weaknesses and the areas where we need to grow. We looked at the film and went through the good, the bad and the ugly and here are some of the things we need to address.”

mmccormick@postmedia.com

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