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December 14, 2018

READY TO WORK

CALGARY, AB - SEPTEMBER 29, 2017: The Calgary Stampeders won 59-11 against the Montreal Alouettes at McMahon Stadium on Friday night.

He may not wear a titled cap, but he’s now in charge of the defence.

On Friday, the Stampeders announced that Brent Monson would take over as the new Defensive Coordinator.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity from John Hufnagel and Dave Dickenson. I’m just trying to continue to do what we’ve been doing here on defence and work with the guys.

“Mainly, I’m just excited to work my butt off to make us better.”

Working hard is what got him here, after all.

Monson joined the Stamps organization in 2009 as a video assistant and has been climbing the ladder ever since.
As the Strength and Conditioning Coach from 2010-2014, he bounced around position groups, coaching linebackers (2010), defensive line (2011), and running backs (2012-2014).

For the past three seasons, the McMaster University grad has gone back to his roots as the team’s Linebackers Coach.

“I started as a video assistant, that was my first role, which was great because it helped me learn all of the ins and outs of all of the background work that you need to do,” Monson said. “Whether it’s Excel, reports, all of the software we use for video breakdown, that year was one of the most important years, in my opinion. It was huge, too, because I got my foot in the door.

“From there I was a Linebackers coach and a Strength and Conditioning coach. The Strength and Conditioning coach position was great because I was so young and it helped me interact with the players and build that relationship and respect with them. As coaches left, I began to move around to different groups. When one coach left, I moved to defensive line, and then (Chris” Jones left and I moved to offence.”

His time as an offensive coach helped him gain a better understanding of how teams try to attack a defence.

“Moving to offence, seeing the other side of the ball, that helped with my knowledge of the game a ton,” stated Monson. “I had never played offence and didn’t know it from that perspective. Coming back to defence from offence and having learned from Dickey and Huff, it was just so valuable.”

The job opening came on the heels of DeVone Claybrook’s departure to become head coach of the BC Lions.

Monson is thankful for having been able to work with and learn from someone like Claybrooks, among others.

“DeVone’s been awesome” Monson said. “He’s very good at interacting with people and relating to players. He’s also a very knowledgeable coach; we always bounced ideas off of each other. You can see how he interacts with everyone, talking to people, talking to players, and controlling the room.

“But it’s not just him, I’ve been fortunate enough to work for Huff, Dickey, Jones, Rich Stubler. And then be around guys like Rick Campbell, Corey Chamblin, Cornell Brown – all of those guys. Just being around this organization has helped develop me.”

He’s also had the privilege of working with some of the smartest and most talented athletes in the league.

“I’ve been fortunate to work closely with some great players,” explained Monson. “But just the personalities and the different ways guys learn has helped me, too, in the teaching aspect. Jon Cornish, I coached him for three years. Him, Alex (Singleton) and Juwan (Simpson) are three very smart players that helped challenge me as a coach, which I enjoy because you always have to be on the ball. All of those guys have helped me develop as a coach.”

Monson does have some experience in his new role.

After a medical scare put DeVone Claybrooks in the hospital earlier this season, it was Monson who was put in charge of making the defensive calls in an important game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Aug. 25.

“It was my first time doing it, so it was a learning experience for sure,” said Monson. “It definitely gave me more confidence that I could do it. The other guys on the staff, Corey (Mace) and Josh (Bell) helped me a lot that week. We had a good thing going when I had to fill in for Clay.

“It was a good learning experience, really.

“We gave up a big play early (a 65-yard score by Ryan Lankford), it was like, ‘Oh no.’

“That was the second play I called as a defensive coordinator. Touchdown for six.

“That was the moment I realized I had to lock in and get it right. There’s definitely more pressure when you’re calling the game, but I like the pressure and I’m ready for it.”

And the defence settled in during that game, shutting down the Bombers offence and coming away with numerous big plays, including a pair of interceptions by Ja’Gared Davis. The Stampeders would win that tilt 39-26.

Using that game as proof that he can succeed in his new role, Monson is ready to get back to work.

“It’s good, I’m excited,” he said. “But for now, I’ve just been named the coordinator, I haven’t done anything yet. I want to make sure our defence is solid and maintains success, and that’s my main focus right now.”