Dominic Picard won't have been idle for long. Almost two months after resigning as offensive coordinator of the University of Sherbrooke's Vert & Or, the former star player of Laval University's Rouge et Or is moving to the Toronto Argonauts as running backs coach Balloon.
This marks Picard's final step in the plan he put in place when he retired in 2016 after attending the Montreal Alouettes' training camp.
“I had opportunities in the CFL in the past, but I wanted to gradually climb the ladder and get my education,” he explained. When I retired, I knew I wanted to be a coach, but I didn't want to miss any steps. It was important to train at the collegiate level before moving to the CFL.”
With the Argos, for whom he played from 2009 to 2011 after being selected in the third round by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2006, Picard will find familiar faces and trustworthy people. The former center played with head coach and offensive coordinator Ryan Dinwiddie with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 2006 to 2008.
“He was my quarterback when we reached the Gray Cup in 2007. He is someone I know well and trust completely. The same goes for offensive line coach Kris Sweet, who was my position coach at Saskatchewan in 2012. He helped me develop and we always stayed in touch.”
“They are winners who have a lot of experience,” continued Picard, who won the Gray Cup with the Riders in 2013. They have been successful since arriving in Toronto. I am happy to share my passion for football with enthusiasts.
Sweet was with the Alouettes in 2016 when Picard announced his retirement during training camp after a 10-year career in the CFL. In the Queen City, Picard will also reconnect with special teams coordinator Mickey Donovan, who was a pillar of the Concordia Stingers defense when Picard was in the varsity ranks.
A first experience
Picard will gain his first experience as a running backs coach, having always coached the offensive linemen. “In the CFL right now, the running backs coach position represents a great entry point for former offensive linemen,” he said. This is particularly the case in Toronto, where Edwin Harrisson took over as offensive line coach for the Riders. As a former lineman, I know pass protection and the keys to reading.
Harrison traveled to Regina when Corey Mace was named to lead the Riders.
Picard isn't worried. “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. As head coach at Blizzard du Séminaire Saint-François and Élans de Garneau, I played in all positions. I want to continue to develop.”