Football season feels like a world away, but north of the border things are under way on the gridiron.
Canadian Football League teams broke camp last week, and that means former Great Falls CMR and Montana stars Dave and Craig Dickenson are leading their respective teams into the 2019 campaign.
Dave’s Calgary Stampeders are coming off a Grey Cup championship but lost 11 of 24 starters to free agency, the NFL, other U.S. leagues or retirement.
His older brother Craig Dickenson is finding his footing as a first-year head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders after spending the past three years a special teams coordinator.
The Dickenson brothers will square off three times this season, starting Friday, May 31 in Calgary for their first preseason tune-up. Both coaches are still evaluating their teams.
“We lost some guys, no doubt, more than any other year I can remember,” Dave Dickenson told reporters before the team’s first practice. “That doesn’t mean that expectations are going to change. We feel like we have to do a great job. We know we have some challenges, but, to me, pressure is something that I enjoy. It makes life interesting. It’s why you’re in this business. We realize we have some new blood, but that also can be fun.”
Craig opened camp in Regina with the Roughriders last week, months after he was named the 47th head coach in team history. Dickenson is in his 17th season as a CFL coach and his 14th as a special teams coordinator. Being the guy at practice now is a nice change of pace.
“It felt good. It honestly doesn’t feel a lot different. I actually have a lot more time during practice to watch the other groups than I had before,” the elder Dickenson said. “I feel like the assistant coaches we have are excellent here and I trust them to do a good job, so it feels good to watch them work.”