The off-season is underway and every team faces questions. Today, I look at three questions concerning the Ottawa franchise that will begin play in 2014.
1. What will the name be?
We know it can't be Rough Riders (though it should be) and it won't be Renegades, but hopefully it will be something that starts with an 'R.' We know the colours will be the traditional black, red and white (and I shudder to think what colours they would have been if the owners in Calgary were as selfish as those in Regina and wanted to protect "their" brand), but we don't know what the name will be. The ownership group is taking suggestions from fans until December 16 on what to name the new team. So you can have your say if you want. I'll be interested to see what the name ends up being.
2. Who will they hire as general manager?
The team will have a new general manager sooner rather than later. The ownership group has targeted February as the month they hope to have their general manager in place. Three names have been bandied about more than most: Marcel Desjardins, Joe Womack and Marcel Bellefeuille. Desjardins is currently the assistant GM in Montreal, Womack has a similar position in Hamilton and Bellefeuille's most recent job was as head coach in Hamilton. Desjardins is the only one of the three that has previously held a GM position in the CFL (he was the GM of the Ti-Cats in 2007), but Womack has had plenty of success finding talent in his role and Bellefeuille is an Ottawa resident and former Vanier Cup-winning coach at the University of Ottawa. Another candidate could come up that will blow them all out of the water, but I fully expect the general manager of the new Ottawa team to be one of those three men.
3. Who are the head coaching candidates?
A lot of this will depend on who becomes general manager and this question won't be answered until well into next year, but there are a few coaches who could be in line for the gig. Aside from Bellefeuille (who could be in the running if he doesn't become the team's GM), there are plenty of others, such as former Saskatchewan head coach Greg Marshall, Calgary offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson, BC offensive coordinator Jacques Chapedlaine, former Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice and Toronto special team coordinator Mike O'Shea to name just a few. The team will have plenty of options when selecting their first head coach and it will be interesting to see what direction the team decides to take as they embark on their inaugural season in 2014.