Really, can one man make this much of a difference?
It's a rhetorical question, it seems, because the results are staring us right in the face. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0 since Ken Miller replaced Greg Marshall as head coach of the team and they aren't looking back.
On Saturday at Mosaic Stadium, the Riders trailed the Toronto Argonauts for most of the game before turning it on in the fourth quarter and pulling away for a 30-20 victory. It truly is just like old times, where the Riders need an alarm clock to go off before they start playing. But eventually they always do.
"I just told the men in the locker room that it was a tremendous battle," Miller said after the game. "We wore them down in the fourth quarter. A lot of games are won in the fourth quarter and we did that today."
So what exactly is it that Miller has? Could anyone have been expected to replace this grandfather on the sidelines as Marshall attempted to do? What's his secret?
"I love Ken Miller," stated Rider defensive back Chris McKenzie who returned an interception 34 yards for the touchdown which put the game out of reach. "That's all I got to say. He elevates my game. He tells me little things that I can work on and what my strengths are. I love him."
The Riders have certainly caught the league's attention as their three game winning streak upped their record to 4-7 and they can catch B.C. for third in the West with a victory over the 5-6 Lions this Saturday at Mosaic Stadium (2:00 p.m. on TSN and CKRM).
"Give Saskatchewan credit, Ken really has them playing right now," admitted Argo defensive lineman Ronald Flemons. "(Toronto QB) Steven Jyles was good and hopefully he'll get better."
Perhaps this talk of Miller being a saviour is overblown or even old news but given the way the season started at 1-7, what has gone on over the past three weeks has been nothing short of astonishing. The victory over Toronto wasn't as convincing as the back-to-back blowouts of Winnipeg, but it's a win nonetheless. You don't get extra points just because you won with style. And the team isn't looking back.
"We're in about as good of a position as we can be, but we have to keep getting better," Miller cautioned. "We can only win one game at a time."
How is this all going to turn out?
I can't wait to find out.
(Rod Pedersen is the voice of the Riders on CKRM radio)
© Copyright Estevan Mercury