Ottawa Redblacks’ receivers coach Alex Suber reflects on his playing career and touches on the new role in the CFL

This off-season has been full of moves for the Ottawa Redblacks. Coming off of a 3-15 season the team knew they’d have to make a change to be able to get back in the running and it all started with the coaching staff. After bringing in Paul LaPolice as the team’s head coach they started bringing in a group of coaches; one being Alex Suber. Suber was brought in as the Ottawa Redblacks receivers coach in December and shows excitement towards his new role, “I started my playing career in 2010 with the ‘Bombers so being able to start coaching in the league 10 years later is really cool for me and I’m super excited to get started in Ottawa this year.”

As Suber mentions in the previous quote he isn’t new to the league. Before becoming a coach with the Ottawa Redblacks Suber established a solid CFL career as a defensive back. Playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Rough Riders Suber was able to play 6 seasons in the CFL, racking up a total 249 tackles, 4 interceptions, 6 fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown. When asked about his career he comments, “My time in the CFL was great. I came in to the league without much knowledge on in, I pretty much thought it was going be really easy to play in but after I came into it and realized what it was all about I gained a lot of respect for it and had an overall great career. Meeting some great people and playing in some big games, it was awesome.”

He started his career off in Winnipeg, then went to play for Toronto before finishing his career in Saskatchewan and when he recaps his time with all of the teams he mentions, “I loved every minute of my career but by far the favorite moments would be with Winnipeg. Going to the Grey Cup was one of the coolest things. I flew my family out to watch and for me it was awesome to see them enjoy being there and everything because we worked so hard to get to that point and it really was cool to live through that. Other than that, being in Toronto was cool. It was really a mini New York city so it was fun to see that part of the country and then when I was in Saskatchewan, I wasn’t there for long but I got the best look at the CFL from that perspective. I saw the fans they had for Saskatchewan and it was fun to be there.”

As he looks onto his new career in the CFL as a coach, he’ll be reuniting with a couple of people that he met before in those cities. Suber goes on to say, “I’m really excited to come to coach the Ottawa Redblacks and what comes into that would be the familiarity I have with the guys there. I went there in February for a couple weeks to get to know the coaches on the staff and we really bonded but even before I was able to play for a couple of the coaches that I will be coaching for.”

When digging deeper, “In my career I was able to play for Paul LaPolice in Winnipeg and as a defensive back, playing against his offense everyday at practice I learned to know how good of an offensive mind he is and as I stay watching the CFL after I retired I see that he’s still up there and theres no surprise about that so now that I’m going to be coaching on his offense, it makes me really excited.” He says, “Also with the Blue-Bombers I was coached by a staff that had Bob Wylie who will be the offensive line coach and I’m super excited to be with him again. As everyone knows he is a true character on the staff and he has a lot of experience in the CFL and NFL as a coach so that makes it even better. Bob Dyce too. In my last year in the league I was with the Rough Riders when Dyce was the intern coach and I saw first hand how smart of a coach he is.”

Suber may be new to coaching the CFL, but he’s not so new to being a coach in general. Before being brought in by Ottawa he was able to get a defensive co-ordiantor gig with Lyon College, and he took on a challenge to be a receivers coach with Murray State. “After I left the game as a player, I knew I wanted to be a coach. Even when I was playing still I took an off-season to coach a high-school team in Florida, close to home and so when I retired I coached them again before I applied to coach the next level and that was really cool.” Suber mentioned, “I really fell in love with coaching because of the people you meet through it. For every player on every team there is a story and getting to know those stories is really cool. As a college coach I really enjoyed the recruiting process really because I was talking to families and telling them how coming to Murray State or Lyon College was going to be the best decision and really how we were going to take care of their kid so I really liked that part of coaching and now that I’m in the CFL I think its going to be cool to see the guys because I can really relate to them as a former player.”

Relating to his players is something coach Suber will be able to do and he’ll even be able to help the receivers with the experience he has as a defensive back. He comments, “As a former defensive back in the CFL I feel like I know a lot of what goes on between a db and a receiver and when I am in Ottawa to coach the receivers group, I hope to help them with the knowledge I have.” Also he said, “Out of all of the things I think I can help teach them, I think the zone/man coverages could be big. I know they’ve learned a lot about it in the past like everyone else, but as a defensive back maybe I can help even more.”

In Ottawa Suber will be able to coach a good group of receivers, “When I’m there, I’m excited to be coaching the guys and there’s a great room of guys. Sinopoli is very experienced, Harris I feel is on the come up and when you look at Coombs and Dedmon, that is two very versatile players. Even not on that list is Saunders who I feel is a great addition by Marcel and the group there and I’m happy to have him in the receivers group really. Then there’s even a lot of younger guys on the team that could make an impact. In total, I think we have a great group and I’m excited to be there!”

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