When Kenny speaks, the Riders listen.
The Roughriders were fumbling around on Saturday and looked listless as they trailed the Edmonton Eskimos 14-10 at halftime of their Week 3 game at Mosaic Stadium.
Uncharacteristically, Rider head coach Ken Miller blasted his players at the halftime break and whatever he said seemed to work. The team fell down 20-13 in the third quarter before rallying for 14 unanswered points and an eventual 24-20 victory, which upped their record to a CFL-best 3-0.
"I just told them they weren't playing Roughrider football," Miller said after the game. "I made it clear that we weren't doing the things that win us football games."
From what I hear, it was a much more serious scolding than that. His voice was raised and he was not happy. Clearly the players got the message.
Many of them have told me they look at Miller as if he was their own father. You respect him, and the last thing you ever want to do is make him mad or let him down.
Ironically coaching is a lot like parenting. If you yell all the time, they'll tune you out before long. However if you do it rarely, then you'll get their attention when you need it.
Who knows how long Miller will coach for? At age 68, he could be forgiven for wanting to retire and live out his days at his cabin in the wooded hills of North Carolina. Had his Riders not flushed the 2009 Grey Cup down the toilet, he might be at his cabin now but he couldn't end his career on a note such as that.
And don't forget he's been coaching football for over 40 years but coaching the Riders was his first chance to be a head coach at the pro level. Raised in the rural area of Oregon known as "The Dalles", Miller was an offensive lineman at Dickenson State University where he first got into coaching.
Miller spent over 30 years coaching college football and baseball at the University of Redlands, an hour east of Los Angeles. Now, he has the most lucrative contract he's ever had and is enjoying his life with no real intentions of hanging up the whistle.
With a career record of 26-15-1 with the Riders, why should he?
(Rod Pedersen is the Voice of the Riders on 620 CKRM)