Avon Cobourne - Last off field

Coach Cobourne and RB Matt Burke were the last off the field at Tuesday's practice (Eric Anderson)

Avon Cobourne always wanted to be a Saskatchewan Roughrider. He just didn't think it would be as a coach.

"I was actually trying to get here last year as a player," says Cobourne, "but they actually had Kory Sheets and told me they were going to go with him."

So the former Montreal Alouettes running back spent the 2013 season working in Florida at a local college. 

Coaching was always in the back of his mind, but it was not until the Riders called a few months ago that he seriously considered it. 

"Coach Chamblin called me and said 'I'm considering you for my staff.' And I was like seriously?"

Cobourne is now the Riders' Running Backs coach. This is his first professional coaching job and his first training camp as a coach. 

'It's a little different cause I kind of get back and forth between my player mode and my coaching mode.'- Avon Cobourme, Riders' Running Backs Coach

The 35 year old admits it's a steep learning curve going from player to coach.

"It's a little different cause I kind of get back and forth between my player mode and my coaching mode. So I got to kind of stay in coaching mode, but you know still have the energy as a player."

Cobourne says having veteran coaches like Corey Chamblin and Richie Hall offering advice and wisdom is helping him get better everyday.

MILLER A VETERAN PRESENCE ON THE COACHING STAFF

There's another new face on the Riders coaching staff, but he brings a wealth of experience to Saskatchewan.

Brad Miller

Rougriders Linebackers coach Brad Miller (Eric Anderson)

  

Brad Miller got his first taste of the CFL in 1995 as a coach with the Birmingham Barracudas. Although the team soon folded, Miller quickly fell in love with the Canadian game.

"The first pre-season game I coached was so fast. I had coached American football for eight years. It's a snail's pace versus a sprint, and it was a heck of an adjustment that first game."

Miller's coaching stops include the Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton and five years with the NFL's Green Bay Packers. 

'It's a snail's pace versus a sprint, and it was a heck of an adjustment that first game.'- Riders Linebackers Coach Brad Miller

That experience will be crucial for the Riders. The team has lost veteran linebackers Rey Williams, Mike McCullough and Craig Butler from last year's Grey Cup winning roster.

"I have a wealth of experience. I've coached some pretty good linebackers like Willie Pless and Terry Ray. And I think we have some young linebackers who are developing and I'm very excited to see how we show in the first pre-season game."

With veteran linebackers Rey Williams, Mike McCullough and Craig Butler no longer with the Roughriders, the team is looking for some young players to take on bigger roles. Sam Hurl is ready for the challenge. He's entering his third season with the Riders. Hurl put on ten pounds of muscle in the off-season and has been getting first team reps with the defence at middle linebacker. Head Coach Corey Chamblin says the added muscle will help Hurl fight through blocks and tackle some of the larger running backs in the CFL. Other linebackers competing for starting jobs are Kevin Regimbald and Brian Peters, who had a great interception off of Darian Durant at Monday's practice.