Ticat players slam Kent Austin, don’t want him to return

One of the most significant decisions facing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this off-season surrounds the fate of vice-president of football operations Kent Austin. But if it’s up to a number of Ticat players, he won’t be back.

Close to a half dozen players who spoke to the Spectator say they believe Austin’s return would significantly reduce the likelihood of several prominent free agents-to-be re-signing with the club as well the team’s ability to recruit players from around the league. They also believe it’s unlikely June Jones will return if Austin remains in his current role.

The players spoke on the condition of anonymity due to Austin’s position of authority within the organization.

Sources say the problems began during 2016’s disappointing 7-11 campaign, which included the departure of offensive coordinator Tommy Condell just before the opening of training camp. It was also the final season of long-time defensive coordinator Orlondo Steinauer.

“Things were OK as long as Tommy and O were here but after Tommy left, things started to go down hill,” said one player. “Then when Orlondo left, things really got worse. Those guys were buffers.”

With Austin entering his fifth season as head coach in 2017, the Ticats started 0-8 – including a 60-1 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. Multiple players said there was disorganization behind the scenes that was significantly impacting the team’s on-field performance.

“Guys really started to get frustrated in training camp. Then when we started losing, there were guys speaking up in the locker room, guys who you wouldn’t expect to speak out,” one player said.

Said another: “It became evident he had lost the locker room.”

When June Jones took over as head coach in late August, players said the environment around the team changed dramatically for the better. Not only were their cohesive offensive and defensive game plans but the mood around club improved significantly. A number of players have spoken on the record about the cultural shift.

“I’m really, really impressed with June. He’s one of the best football coaches I’ve ever been around and what he did with an 0-8 team was pretty impressive,” said Luke Tasker during locker room clean out on Saturday and who played for Austin at Cornell in college. “I would be very pleased to see him hired here next year.”

But while the players were buying into Jones’ notion that they could make the playoffs despite their bad start, the decision to trade two veterans in defensive end John Chick and running back C.J. Gable for draft picks and neg list players caused some to wonder if Austin was on board with the effort.

“We let John Chick go for nothing, a guy that was great for the locker room. Same with C.J., we traded him for who?” one player asked. “Nobody that could help us right now.”

Said another: “‘Sabotage’ is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in our locker room.”

Even though he is no longer the head coach, multiple players say they believe Austin isn’t an asset to the organization.

“You look at the coaching decisions he made, some of the staffing decisions he made, some of the personnel decisions he made and you lose faith in his ability to make good decisions,” a player said. “If you don’t have faith in the vice-president of football operations, how do you have faith the organization is going anywhere?”

The Ticats have a number of key players set to become free agents in February including quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, thousand-yard receivers Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker, defensive tackle Ted Laurent and linebacker Larry Dean.

“Speedy has been telling everybody that he won’t re-sign if Kent is still around in any capacity,” one player said. “I think some other guys are in the same boat.”

While Jones has said he would like to return and that he has a constructive working relationship with Austin, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Jones’ meetings about his future have been with CEO Scott Mitchell and not Austin, who is technically his boss.

“I’ve never seen those two have a conversation and I don’t think June wants to be in an environment like that. He’s not that kind of guy,” one player said. “I think June can have a relationship with anyone and he did what he had to do to be here but they weren’t on the same page in any way.”

Said another: “Honestly, if June’s gone and Kent’s still here next season, I have no idea what would happen. But it wouldn’t be good.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1161 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

142 Comments on Ticat players slam Kent Austin, don’t want him to return

  1. Paul Smith // November 6, 2017 at 7:23 am //

    Not surprising but still high on the “WOW” scale. That’s loaded.

  2. This article is long on gossip and innuendo and short on facts. The sabatoge stuff is just silly. They traded Chick to reduce the cap and had a solid replacement. Same for Gable. There may be a real story here but Drew needs to go get it.

    • That is the story, Amicus. The Cats made the move to clear cap space, but that doesn’t mean the players will like it. They don’t care about the financial side of the business, they just care that good contributors and teammates are shipped out when the team is still fighting for a playoff spot. They can be excused for thinking it was a deliberate tank job by the front office.

      Players are pissed about Austin’s coaching style to start the year and pissed about his player personnel decisions after he left the sidelines. I think it’s all very clear.

  3. Austin’s situation was made redundant once Jones was made coach.
    Interesting times ahead for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

    • No, I don’t think Austin’s job is redundant. Jones can concentrate on coaching and let Austin deal with personnel hiring/evaluation etc
      A coach’s job is to work with the tools he’s given.
      They need a good Offensive Coach too, no one wants to criticize Patzek because he’s Canadian but he needs to go, he’s not ready for the big league.

      • John, thanks for putting merit first and not nationalism. Every successful league has no passport barriers to entry. See EPL, German Bundesliga, NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, Pro Tennis, pro Golf. Best baseball players from Japan and Dominican Republic these days.

      • Let’s see … the offense fit Austin’s preference for passing, looked the same no matter who was in at OC and didn’t change until there was a new HC.

        Until Ptaczek has some freedom in what is done, I don’t think squat is known about his big league abilities … just like we don’t know squat about Condell’s abilities to call a different offense.

        After all, Condell is receiver’s coach when one would have thought Brady’s OC job.

        Regardless, if Jones is back, he likely picks his staff for 2018.

    • dangerdan21 // November 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

      Bob young does care about winning
      He only cares about Making Money
      it is why he did not want Stadium where it should have gone.
      It does care if win a grey cup as long starts making money
      That why Scott is still here any organization with outstanding character would have fired him by now
      It why Gave I up going to games at all

      • Chopper11 // November 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm //

        Umm, Dangerdan, if you had any idea how much of his own money Bob Young put into the Cats, then you wouldn’t say such ridiculous things.
        On to the next comment…
        Still the classiest owner in the league…
        I think Mitchell should go. I’m not convinced Austin should go, Gable and Chick were cap casualties. For those paying attention, cap became tricky once Masoli started a certain number of games.
        Find out from June, if he could return with Austin as GM. If so, done deal. Forget Manzeil,trade him for a player. I think Collaros would rock under June’s offence, and fear that on any other team, he will kill it. I believe Collaros and Masoli are proven starters in the league. I’m going to hate seeing one of them go…

  4. Wow, well the player comments would explain why the team sucked so hard to start the season. The head office seems bloated right now too, so it will be very interesting to see what changes happen in the off season.

  5. It was obvious by the difference in the team that Austin had lost the locker room when he stepped down or maybe was he told to step down from coaching the team. My opinion is that Austin and Tillman should be replaced. The front office needs to be stabilized first before and player moves are made. Here are a couple of suggestions Danny Mac for GM and Orlando for head coach if June Jones does not return. Tommy Condell as OC, Philip lolley as DC.

    • blackgold58 // November 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm //

      Not sure how Tillman gets lumped in with KA. Tillman brought the solution, or maybe I can’t read or hear properly, I am getting old. Tillman and Jones are old friends, Jones said in one of his first interviews here that he accepted the job because of his relationship with Eric Tillman. Same reason the DC Lolley is here. All those years running the Senior Bowl cultivated strong football connections for Tillman. Mistake to let him leave.

  6. WOW!!! Well done Drew.

  7. John Gallagher // November 6, 2017 at 7:52 am //

    Wow

  8. yea, damming. more thoughts.. Speculation only..June stays if Austin goes AND either or both JM’s are here.. Johnny Football is soo misunderstood (old Brit invasion version). Not a cancer in locker room and does study..Google Kyle Shanahan Manziel….many would be saints keep talking about standards and not just taking any one..too late for that. Masoli has two arrests and two guilty pleas in Oregon in 2010 thus convictions that got him kicked off the Ducks. Google Masoli wikipedia. Manziel has no arrests, charges dropped thys no convictions. The incident in Dallas was a lovers quarrel gone bad. Hotel security tape shows the gurl hitting Manziel. more too follow

    • The NFL has a huge number of Felons and much bigger list of incidences swept under the rug.
      The list goes on and on. Google Cornelious Bennett (spelling?) just to name one
      Another was caught doing high level drug importing two weeks after starring in Superbowl! On and on!
      There is also a list of players who learned and never looked back!

  9. Karen Elyea // November 6, 2017 at 8:04 am //

    need june jones back if players won,t sighn with Austin in office questionable about keeping him I like him .should get rid of Tillman

    • blackgold58 // November 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm //

      The many great players are here because of Tillman. Masoli, Simoni, Laurant, Saunders, Banks, Capicotti, Chambers…
      Add JJ and Lolley to the list. Ask JJ or KA if he should stay or go. They will both want him. I don’t think he should be on the block.

  10. I don’t understand the hate for Eric Tillman. Who found Don Unamba? Who found Richard Leonard? Who found Nikita Whitlock? Who found Jalen Saunders and Damarr Aultman? These are all Eric Tillman finds that made the team better. He has a great network for finding American talent, and getting rid of him will harm the team way more than you think.

    • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 9:45 am //

      A lot of CFL fans can’t see past the whole babysitter situation with Tillman and would like to see him out of the league. Eskimo fans have a particular hate for the man who Peter Pocklington’d Ricky Ray to Toronto for a bag of chips.

      • BleedGreen // November 6, 2017 at 7:34 pm //

        Didn’t turn out so badly for ole Ricky Ray, got life support with an indoor stadium for a few years. Ricky isn’t Wayne Gretzky, they should get over it. Riley is better in my opinion.

    • Tillman didn’t find all those guys! Stop it! Tillman was just hired last yr! Hahaha…Tillman has no pull! Austin is his Boy…there is a relationship there and do we need reminding of what law he broke and settled out of court for???

      • Yes, Eric Tillman was brought in last year, and the players I mentioned were players the Tiger-Cats brought in this year, Super Flea. So thank you for proving my point.

      • Tillman hasn’t found anyone?

        Makes you wonder why the Cats wasted so many years paying him as GM (2017, 2016) plus two years as director of US scouting & US pro personnel director (2015, 2014) plus his consulting days.

        It’s something like his fifth year working for the team so you’d think they would replace a guy who wasn’t producing.

    • blackgold58 // November 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm //

      Right!!

  11. Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 8:18 am //

    If sources are unnamed, it’s fake news.

    • A player is not going to let a reporter use his name.
      The players will talk to a reporter and say “please don’t print this but, we are not happy with Austin”

      I expect that if Austin stays then there will be a big player turn over in the off season. A lot of veteran players will be gone.

      • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 8:59 am //

        If so, there is an ethical obligation on the part of the reporter not to use that source. Unless I as a reader can verify the source of the quote, it shouldn’t be used.

        • Sorry Donald … I mean Billy … but that’s not how it works. Confidential sources have always been a part of journalism. A reporter puts his own credibility on the line when he uses them. If he makes stuff up he will not last in the field.

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:26 am //

            Incorrect. Confidential sources have always been a part of law enforcement, not journalism. At least not quality journalism. Just the modern yellow trash that passes for journalism.

            The basis for journalism is the rely of facts. Facts without sources are simply heresay. If I can’t go to the source and ask directly, or confirm with another person that what is quoted is what that person actually said – fake news.5

          • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 9:35 am //

            Apparently you’ve never been involved in either law enforcement OR journalism, Billy Dee.

          • Willy D…what continent do you live on? Unnamed sources dominates the news! Hahahah…you must live a sheltered life!

        • Of course you’re absolutely and entirely incorrect. Unnamed sources are perfectly viable sources – how else would we have learned about things like Watergate or Enron? There’s a significant and important difference between a journalist with sources and some dude with a keyboard. Drew is the consummate former.

          Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad practice.

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:28 am //

            Unfortunately, it is you who are wrong. Revisionist history at its finest.

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:29 am //

            Also, it is not that I don’t like it. But it is in fact bad practice. Ask Drew about the journalists ethic of double verification to see if I am correct.

          • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 9:37 am //

            What revisionist history, Billy? Watergate? Enron? Pretty sure both of those things were pretty well documented scandals. One of those actually cost the livelihoods of thousands of people. The other led to the resignation of a president. That’s, umm, pretty hard stuff to fake.

        • I wanted to hear it, bigtime! I see the situation and it’s presented as without named sources. Does in no way prove it’s untrue. Up to reader to decide. I trust Drew made up none of these

      • It is possible … but I doubt it.

        More likely it was “If you promise to leave my name out the article, I can tell you things”.

        Unless the player is sure Austin is gone, it is either say nothing or arrange to keep your name out of it.

    • You think it’s fake news because a player didn’t want his name printed? That’s a dumb thought

      • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:35 am //

        No sir. I think it’s fake news because unnamed sources are unverifiable and therefore not reliable.

        Everything said in this piece may in fact be true. But unless the sources are named, the information should not be used. Journalism 101.

        Just because modern journalists do use unnamed sources and do so with unacceptable regularity does not mean it is right.

        • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 9:38 am //

          Unverifiable is not the same as unreliable, Billy.

          Again, Journalism 101 is obviously a class you’ve never taken.

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:43 am //

            You can try to sling mud all you want. I don’t care. What you should do is try to make a rational rebuttal to my point, with logic and reason. You know, like adults do.

            Your style of reply is exactly what fake news leads to.

          • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 11:43 am //

            This is an article about players stating they don’t like their GM (and former head coach) and in particular the fact that some free agents may not come back if he’s still around.

            It doesn’t take a lot of logic and reason to see that making such an opinion public would be a career-limiting move for any players that do so, but such players would be the best source of such information. This article basically boils down to the opinion that some players have with their boss.

            You are the one talking about “Journalism 101” and slinging the “fake news” one-liner comments, Billy. Nobody explained the above to you before now because people are making the (obviously incorrect) assumption that you would have at least enough logical sense to understand this yourself.

            You can choose to believe that such sources don’t exist and that Edwards is talking out his rear-end here. That’s your prerogative. But given Austin’s history (not to mention the evidence provided just by the play of the team on the field), such a belief is frankly rather foolish.

        • So I guess when reporting a crime through crime stoppers etc you should always put your name out there so that we all know who the source is. Even though there is a strong chance of reprisal from who you spoke out against, reprisal that could very well ruin your life

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 9:46 am //

            No. That is why in an earlier post I made the distinction between unnamed sources in law enforcement and journalism.

            The speaker in both cases can and should be able to protect their identity. It is on the reporter to not use unnamed sources as that type of reporting is dangerous to society as a whole.

        • So I guess Watergate was fake news since the journalists source remained unnamed for decades.

          • Billy Dee // November 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm //

            Sigh. Just because it worked for Woodard and Bernstein in that instance does not mean it is a good practice generally. That case pushed the boundaries of journalistic ethics about as far as they can be pushed. Just google their names and ethics and you will see that there is much debate about this. And, their breaches of ethics are, in my opinion, only justified by the gravity of the events they were trying to uncover.

            The problem is that now, every reporter, from our man Drew all the way to the National Post and CBC, routinely breaches these ethics and the acts have become normalized. Normalized is not right and it doesn’t mean that the activity is just or ethical merely because everyone does it.

            And frankly, comparing Watergate to the locker room grumblings of some athletes is hardly realistic.

        • Reporters have gone to jail for not giving up their sources. Anything you tell a reporter, if you don’t want to be named, you won’t be. If reporters gave up their sources, which they don’t, they would soon have no sources at all.

    • Fake news…such an overused phrase these days. To me fake news is something that can be proved otherwise factually incorrect. You don’t know if this is ‘fake news’, you are just assuming it is because of unnamed sources, which is your right but I highly doubt a reporter with the credentials that Drew Edwards has would make up a story like this.

      • Exactly. Billy just uses the wrong term. Fake News implies that the report is entirely false but Billy acknowledges that “Everything said in this piece may in fact be true”. That’s why he’s struggling so much to get his point across.

        • Struggling???

          I think I was quite clear. Perhaps it is you who is struggling to understand my points.

          If I can’t verify, I have to believe that it is fake. If I accept as true and move forward in that belief, I could misinform others or look like a doosh for spreading falsehoods. Dangerous.

          • Based on the number of responses by people who think your opinion makes no sense, and the number of times you’ve had to explain it and provide examples, yes, struggling.

          • Maybe not so much struggling as being contradictory.

            “Everything said in this piece may in fact be true” contradicts the “I have to believe it is fake”.

    • They’re opinions, not facts. So your double source theory is bogus. You either trust Drew or you don’t. Give it a rest already.

      • Please grab a dictionary and look up what the differences between opinion and fact are.

        What Drew is offering as facts are the words he claims to have heard others say. That would be presenting (what he claims) are facts.

    • NotDonaldTrump // November 7, 2017 at 2:02 am //

      RIGHT!

    • Billy Dee: how can you possibly reach such drastic conclusion sitting in your armchair? Sounds to me like you are in complete denial and closed off to any other conclusion.

  12. This is some crazy reporting man if this is the case Austin needs to go once he gone re sign Jones and get some key free agents back. one thing is certain this organization can’t afford to retain Austin and have players not wanting to play here that could spell disaster for 2018

  13. FIRE KENT AUSTIN!

    BRING IN KAVIS REED!

    You’re welcome…

    • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 9:40 am //

      Replace and ineffective scowling coach with an ineffective smiling coach. Sounds like a good plan.

  14. Should be a interesting 11 am sharp press Conference this morning with Mr Austin !!!

  15. Yep time to ask the tough questions …or will Austin inform the press he has decided it’s best he leave the club . There is no possible way bob young and Scott Mitchell can retain his services after this!

  16. Bring in Kavis Reed? Oh yeah, he’s done so well, especially in Montreal.

  17. Two points: A number of Ticat players mentioned that June Jones asked for their input, apparently not a common practice under Austin.
    The win-loss record pre and post Jones’ hiring. Hard to ignore.

    • NotJoshSmith // November 7, 2017 at 2:06 am //

      Take a look at the schedule first. Under June Jones, the Ticats still only beat one team with a end of season winning record! The first half of the season was stacked against the Cats and this is coming from a Kent Austin hater.

      • He also went into BC Place and beat the Lions…which hasn’t happened since Glenn was pitching them to Bruce. Yeah I know, Lions didn’t make the PO’s…but this place is still one of the toughest stadium’s to win…that counts for something.

  18. Manziel using CFL for stepping stone. Not necessarily..Masoli was a highly highly accomplished NCAA QB. Two convictions froze him out NFL. Friend, mentor, advocate Jon Gruden MNF host thinks no way NFL takes him Manziel back even with no convictions. why everyone hate Manziel? Pure Jealousy..he was born rich. Jf in it for trappings not football. His trust fund already more than highest NFL contraCt Detroits Stafford. Does not need money. just wants to play. Cant have both Masoli and Manziel. Not true. Masoli already a starter. Manziel can back up and be a slaSh player. was a very good slot receiver in HS. And instantly best down field runner. Better for Montreal. Perhaps but will need Air raid friendly coach. Chip Kelly avail. Failure at Browns. Well, current Packers QB sat 4 years. One before that hard drinking failure at Falcons. Brady sat 1st year.Manz was getting it end 2nd year. Youtube search Browns vs Tennessee, Pittsburg, SF, Chiefs 2015. Still last Browns QB to win in a Sunday.

    • Masoli had 1 Great yr in Oregon then his theft situation! He was never a highly thought of NFL QB! Manziel needs a couple good Seasons to prove he can lead a team! Johnny Ball Game if focused would be a problem for Defenses League should of allowed him to come in during PR expansion to get him familiar with the nuances of the CFL! strong arm and escape ability are advantages!

    • Air Raid friendly coach? I’m sure the Father of The Air Raid, Hal Mumme, is available. I’m surprised June Jones didn’t bring him north. He runs rings around Austin. Oh wait…he doesn’t run the football either!

  19. Fans better be very careful what they wish for. Kent Austin has a brilliant football mind. This team is stronger having Austin as part of the front office, even though I feel that he wants to be back on the sidelines. The available talent pool has gotten better ever since Austin went upstairs. The front office will return in tact and if it does not, the Ticats will become weaker. I will be very disappointed if Austin announces that he is leaving as he has rebuilt this team inside and out and it is time that fans are appreciative rather than critical of him.

    • Kent is not that brilliant. If so they would of never fallen like they have the last 2 yrs. JJ showed everyone watching how much better he was in comparison to Austin…there are levels to this Coaching thing!

    • blackgold58 // November 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm //

      Equally if not more evidenced is June Jones, he also subscribes to a positive psychology.

    • Sea of Dead // November 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm //

      Ari: Give it up already. I suspect that most of the football community hates Austin as much as his players do … So why would any GM direct talent to the Cats because of him. If you like the players on the team now, then give credit to Tillman … If you don’t then blame Tillman. Austin, if anything, was responsible for the exodus of several good coaches and players during his tenure. Even Tasker sings the praises of JJ in this article, without even a mention of Austin. That in itself is telling. If he can’t coach effectively, then Austin no longer has ANY value to an organization and I’m sure he knows it.

    • richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // November 6, 2017 at 10:22 pm //

      Disagree: Mr. Austin took a roster built by someone else to 2 Finals then rebuilt it into the one that couldn’t beat little kids in Calgary. Oh wait, they put a new (better?) football mind in charge and the same guys looked like a playoff-caliber team for the last two months. The results on the field are the most damning evidence as to Mr. Austin’s “brilliance”. These comments only provide corroboration to the horror show that was the Ticats first eight games.

      • Agree with some of this and disagree with other parts.

        IMO, it is far worse than a failed rebuild.

        Jones’ success, where basically the same players with a few changes in personnel, changes to the offense and a few changes in role tells me that Austin had talent but was using it badly/setting them up to fail.

        • @Cat Fan: RE:”

          Maybe not so much struggling as being contradictory.

          “Everything said in this piece may in fact be true” contradicts the “I have to believe it is fake”.”

          There is nothing contradictory about those statements. The word “may” means just the point that I am making. I can’t be sure it is true, and it may well be, but without source is must be taken as false. Logic 101.

  20. Lisa knight // November 6, 2017 at 9:27 am //

    Lisa, I think Kent Austin needs to move on before this team and players get to frustrated . I have faith in Scott Mitchell to do what is right for this team and the Hamilton fans.

  21. Not really that surprised by this. Kent Austin often revealed himself after losses with terse, condescending comments to the media. Frederic Plesius spoke out about Austin’s negativity. Glen Suitor stated the relationship between Austin and Collaros had deteriorated after Condell left.

    Face it, the team was absolutely horrible under Austin in 2017. He had lost the room.

    Maybe (hopefully) Austin’s press conference today will be him announcing that he’s stepping down.

  22. So it’s an axe job by Drew? I don’t think so. Anonymous sources doesn’t mean unreliable sources. You can see the reasons for wanting anonymity.

    The results and JJ’s performance have to speak for themselves, plus the player’s attitudes towards him. He may not be the smartest or fastest mind in the CFL coaching ranks, but he excels at motivation. He keeps saying it’s not about the X’s and O’s, but repetition and motivation. Austin’s never been a warm/fuzzy guy – not interested in bonding with his team. What happens to Good Cop/Bad Cop when the good cops leave? (Condell & Steinauer) I agree about Tillman; he finds talent, and he’s got the contacts. He’s not the poison in the well.

    Lolley doesn’t get enough credit. With this latest secondary, we’re in with the best D’s in the league. Talk about motivation? Compare Simoni in the first 8 games, to how he finished – his old fired-up, pain-in-the-butt self after Austin stepped down.

    Most of the pieces are there for a successful 2018 – just gotta sign ’em. Zack’s the big question going forward.

    • Zack will depend in system and coach. ZC not a good fit for up tempo spread offense of June. If June back then Zack may stay but June will favor duel or triple threat QB’s. Always has.

  23. Enough evidence that there is problems. Austin thanks for everything, but it is time to move on.

  24. Isnt this reporter the same that had 2 rider players on a plane 1 which had nothing to do with the fight. And a coach who started the fight. Is this guy’s middle name rumour? Or his Nick name controversy maker?

  25. June Jones came close to working a miracle with this team. You need to bring him back, re-sign your best players and go from there. Austin must go. As for confidential sources, good reporters use those they know are credible and don’t use those they don’t trust. Woodward and Bernstein used Deep Throat and won a Pulitzer Price. Hamilton should wrap this up right after the Grey Cup for maximum advantage. Letting it fester will only do further damage.

  26. Austin promoted Tillman to GM and brought in Jones to help the coaching staff. Either guy has basically replaced him in both positions so either he stays in a inflated head office position or he heads south like Milavonich did with the Argos for greener pastures like they say. Simple as that.

  27. I still shake my head at the Cats for trading Gable to edmonton for really nothing. They should of found a way of signing him even with a salary cap!

    • Why? This might be his last year playing anyhow. He’s got a job lined up with the LA Fire Dept.

      Alex Green did a fine job when he came back to the team and looks like he could be a solid guy going forward.

    • The Iceman // November 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm //

      Gable a good vet gets a chance to chase a Cup in Edmonton. Ticats know what he is and can resign him if they choose after the season.

  28. Mitchell has no choice but to let Austin go and find another job this offseason. Luckily Tillman is more than capable of taking over. Austin will have to go down south, I think this is the last time he’ll ever work in the CFL

  29. greenonions // November 6, 2017 at 10:29 am //

    The Riders don’t deny there was a fight nor that Carter was in the middle of it, D. It’s also unusual for the league to say they investigated it, so it’s not like the usual skirmishes that happen. Whatever happened it’s not like Carter hasn’t peed off coaches before. Chapdelaine wasted no time releasing Carter when he became interim HC.

    • George Porge // November 6, 2017 at 11:48 am //

      The league didn’t investigate it, greenonions. The only announcement the league made about the fight is that they weren’t going to investigate it. The fight was a non-issue inflamed by a slow news day and a weird, cryptic tweet by DC.

  30. No surprise, you could tell something was wrong from the start of the season.

  31. I agree STAMPS. I guess they can always sign him as a FA. I don’t know why he would go back. He admits he loved Hamilton but they’re a pass happy offence, have been since Austin came. He’s thriving in Edmonton where he gets a lot of carries & they commit to the run. Esks will try to re-sign him I’m sure though White is 4 years younger. But he’s now missed 2 full seasons to injury.

    • Don’t you mean Hamilton *was* a pass happy offense under HC Austin?

      No way to tell what the Eskies offer or what their plans are but unless Austin is back to be HC, the pass happy part may not fit the 2018 season.

  32. The Chick deal made sense for a number of reasons; salary, age, and the fact that his production seemed to be declining. Also, they couldn’t fit Chick and Tracy on the same roster. Tracy is a younger, quicker and I’m sure cheaper version of Chick. The Gable deal made less sense, but Green has filled that gap nicely, and I’m sure at a better price. Gable’s biggest problem has been durability. I don’t think either deal hurt the team.

    • Plus both Chick and Gable get to be in the playoffs.

    • Agree George – although Gable proved to be durable last season and this year until he was traded. He did have a couple of bad years injury-wise in 2014-2015. The player perception that those deals were made to “sabotage” the team are just that – perceptions. Austin has done much for the team in terms of bringing in talent (along with other staff). Not retaining much of it might be telling – or not – players often have reasons for moving on aside from a dislike of the HC. Since Austin as VP of Football ops no longer has daily contact with the players, there should be little to no tension or friction there any more. From the sounds of his interview it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere but time will tell. Little in the way of personnel decisions (coaching or player) is going to be made before the GC is over so I don’t expect we’ll know for sure what’s happening with KA for a while.
      Too bad the relationship with the players had deteriorated so much but I’ll give Austin credit for knowing it was time for him to step aside in favour of a fresh voice.

  33. bring wally buono to hamilton,,why not.

  34. Thanks Kent. Time to go!

  35. Overall, Austin has been good for Hamilton and the Tiger-Cats. He took on too many jobs this year and perhaps did not do any of them well. It may or may not be time for him to go. He should not coach here, that’s for sure. I’ve seen other journalists show bias in their reporting. Hopefully this is not the case with Drew and this article.

    • Don’t see how it could be a bias when poster’s here on 3downnation *last year* were speculating similar things.

  36. Bob McKnight // November 6, 2017 at 11:16 am //

    Firing him today isn’t soon enough for me. Austin can take his ego and go back to the college ranks because he doesn’t have the attitude to coach grown men making a living from football.

  37. It would benefit everyone involved if Austin departs and go back to just coaching, which is his strongest asset. He knows the Canadian game better than most. BC & MTL could use an offensive mind like him to turn things around. No need to get into a power struggle. Hamilton fans deserve better.

  38. When Bob Young asks “where all the love has gone for Kent Austin”, stop wishing for what you are not going to get. Kent Austin will lead this team into the future. Move on!!

    • BleedGreen // November 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm //

      Shazzaamm…and then you woke up. Austin is not the future of this team. Dude looks horrible, too much stress going on. Feel for him, love him as a Rider. He seems to have changed. Lost his swagger.

  39. Everyone forgetting Austin signed himself to a long term lucrative contract? Not just as HC, but VP of Football Operations, and eventually giving the GM job to Tillman. Austin was obviously wearing too many hats. His own talent of evaluating players and coaching was sliding this year. The team and his other coaches (if he in fact listened) to them, assembled a poor product from training camp. Just his overall attitude and example he set for his players was much to be desired. Just goes back to last season, whether he contacted an official or not. Ti-Cats seem to get the end of the stick on most officiating calls, even from the C.C. Austin has a reputation as a “hot head” not conducive to a great attitude to instill towards his players. Yes he might have a great football mind, but was he really successful as a HC? His overall record in collegiate and pro ball is under .500. OK he did lead the Ti-Cats to 2 Grey Cups, but does everyone really forget that Speedy B saved his bacon in most of those victories. Especially in the playoffs, and would have won G.C.possibly, even it wasn’t for Taylor Reed’s questionable penalty on Banks TD return with less the a minute to go for a GC victory, against the Stamps. Time for Mr. Young to eat some money, and if he has confidence in Scott Mitchell, as he stated, time for Scott Mitchell to do the right thing, and let Kent Austin out of his contract. IF this article is accurate (and it sure sounds like it is) Just look how a team with a few tweaks and a new HC who is willing to learn and listen to everyone. Instead of being a miserable dictator on the sidelines. Time for a change in Tigertown, if in fact we want to keep and re-sign the nucleus of 2017’s team and re-sign some important FA’s for a successful 2018.

  40. Colour me green // November 6, 2017 at 11:54 am //

    Finally an article that isn’t out to sabotage the Riders.
    I think it is time to rebuild the Cats.

  41. The Iceman // November 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm //

    The only juicy piece is including Speedy’s name. I think that it was wrong to publish his name as it appears that a comment was made by another player stating that Speedy will not return unless Austin is gone. Go to Speedy directly and if he says the same print it. Otherwise providing a quote by an unnamed player about another player is weak IMO. If that player is off the record no names should be included.

    • I found that weird too, unless Banks wants it out there on the sly. We’ll never know though.

      • This is true! Austins video doesn’t match this article. Maybe you don’t want a guy putting down staff. Banks must be Wtf you mentioning me for?
        On the other hand, Banks should have been given his paycut back!

  42. EXCELLENT reporting work Drew. You’re the man.

  43. Tiger Chick // November 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm //

    Okay, so its very simple. If you have a number of our FA’s saying they won’t return without Jones, Tommy Condell leaving, Steinhauer leaving, WHAT MORE IS IT GOING TO TAKE? In my opinion if they don’t listen to their players and see this situation for what it can be with Jones, they obviously don’t care if their season ticket holders renew. Ticats will end up with Bob Young as the QB, Austin as the Kicker and Tillman on defence. And that will be the whole team. LISTEN TO THE PLAYERS AND THE FANS!

  44. Even with the season over this team continues to be a hot mess. It is very discouraging as a fan to see these ongoings. Time to say bye to Austin. Speedy, tasker, masoli, Laurent all need to be resigned and if it means ousting Austin, I’m all for it.

    • Billinburlington // November 6, 2017 at 10:12 pm //

      You are right on. I supported Austin until I saw what June Jones brought to the table. Now I realize how wrong I was. It’s damn scary to hear rumours that CFL FAs don’t want to sigh in Hamilton if KA is still with the organization. Caretaker Bob needs to build the team starting with JJ as coach. Everyone else must be 100 % in line with JJ. As diplomatic as JJ was in his press conference yesterday I agree that KA needs to be given his walking papers for JJ to truly feel in charge.

  45. Hope the team gets it right for the next season!

  46. Well, isn’t this revealing. I have never heard of dissent like this where players are coming out in the media. Austin’s gotta go. He’s become a pariah in the organization. He has lost so many great players on defense. I mean, guys signed with the Argos rather than reup with the Cats. That right there is the most damning thing against Austin. He’s gotta go. If they lose Banks, Masoli and Tasker, the destruction will be complete. Kent Austin has to go. If Mitchell can’t see that, then the problems go higher than Austin maybe even higher than Mitchell. Bottom line, Austin’s gotta go.

  47. Kent Austin’s shelf life expired long ago and Bob Young refuses to acknowledge it.

  48. Austin is a screamer, a yeller, a bully… The kind of guy who can take over a good organization for a year or so and squeeze a little more performance out of it’s people through fear and intimidation. Unfortunately for him, that only works short term, over the long term your best people leave and things quickly get very bad.

  49. KA has won a Grey Cup as a player and as a coach and overall has good record as a coach in Hamilton. He took on too many jobs. If he had stayed as coach only, this would not have happened. Some players may want to go. They can try Montreal He brought most of these FAs to Hamilton (Masoli, Tasker, Banks) He traded Chikc for business reasons and traded Gable because he had a capable replacement with Alex Green and got chambers in return. chambers has been an asset to the team.
    After this crazy season that went off the rails and improved so much , we should be glad that there is hope for the future with JJ, JM, speedy B and Tasker. If June Jones reads the comments here, he may not want to be around

  50. Well, if Bob Young doesn’t get rid of Austin then good luck to him because he’ll need it.
    By and large you have to listen to your employees.
    In any business.

  51. Kent had his chance and his best days on the sidelines and in the office are behind him. Been nothing but a decline for the last couple of years. U never want players making business decisions,but they do have the pulse of the locker room and morale and respect is everything in there. Not much dwn side cutting him loose besides the $$$.

  52. Bob Young would never take the hit on getting rid of Austin. He would rather attack the local beat reporter for shining some light on the disfunction in his organization. That is shameful. Put the fans first! Stop making decisions based solely on the finances. What happened to better is better?

    • Exactly. The beat reporter is just doing his job. Not sure what Bob’s crew is doing except inciting damage control.

  53. I think I’ll wait and see what happens with Austin before re-newing my season seats. If he is still there I probably won’t be.

  54. JoeSchmuck27 // November 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm //

    Typical of Drew Edwards “reporting”…states things anonymously, and writes with a lot of innuendo. Nothing more than the typical Hollywood celebrity gossip magazines. Glad I don’t have to pay to read his blogs… Also glad I have long since unsubscribed from the Spec. Just miss Steve Milton and Scott Radleys articles though.

    • If you like Milton’s articles then you may find it interesting that Milton’s latest one confirms what Edwards wrote. According to Milton, this is toned down compared to some of the player comments he has heard.

  55. First ,we blamed Zach for all the losses. He was only part of the problem. Now we blames Austin for all the losses. He, too, was only part of the problem

    • Zac could control his play only.

      Austin has controlled most of the offense plus player decisions. If the top decision maker is “only part of the problem” that leave Mitchell and Young. Somehow, I doubt it.

  56. Alex Droho // November 7, 2017 at 8:15 am //

    Good job Drew for providing an article that ignited us fans and gets us venting and excited for next year.

  57. For those saying the sources must be named for the content to be legitimate, give your heads a shake. I am one of the people who believes it is time to clean house basically from top to bottom. Every level seems to have a degree of dysfunction and classlessness. While Jones had some wins some were easy because of scheduling. The reality was that when games simply had to be won tinder Jones they simply weren’t . Games were thrown away. The Argos game ranks as one of the dumbest or actually the dumbest loss in team history. Also have to keep the end iof the season in perspective – any positive step would look good after an 0-8 start.

  58. For anyone that follows the Cats, it was clear that Austin had lost the Players.
    And it was way before the 60 to 1 blow out at the hands of Calgary.
    First glimpses of something very wrong started in Training Camp…
    Austin needs to be shown the door.
    His unwillingness to step down…knowing full well he had lost the Players, until the Team were 0 and 8 speaks volumes regarding his mindset.
    With Kent…it is all about ME, nothing else counts.
    And if not for the simple fact…that Hamilton Fans put so much pressure on the TiCat Brass to make changes, or face an empty Stadium on game day.
    THAT would have happened…
    Make no mistake TiCat Fans know the game of football.
    Not to mention the countless Players that were ether cut or traded away..to other Teams.
    The list goes on and on…
    The Austin experiment has run it’s course…time for him to go.

  59. Nothing wrong with this story as clearly if it was wrong you’ll soon here players coming out saying no one they know said this stuff.

    Was it as bad as alleged – disorganization at practices etc? Maybe not.

    However the losing of his OC and then DC coincided with falling a long way down.

    His failure to change QBs at all during the fall was ridiculous.

  60. wrong with this story as clearly if it was wrong you’ll soon here players coming out saying no one they know said this stuff.

  61. Ernie Eisenstein IV // November 12, 2017 at 4:53 am //

    This comment has no bearing on the players or the coaches or even the Hamilton Tiger Cats. I have too much respect for the people involved. Remember it’s just a cliche’.
    When things get really rough at times those who are not in control will speak up. Simply because they see what is happening at the grass roots level. That’s where the saying comes “The inmates are running the Asylum” because obviously they are the least capable people to run the organization. As are the players of a professional football team. So when they do speak up. It sounds like they are trying to run the show. Which is not the case.
    I personally have worked with a Company for close to 30 years. Unfortunately the original owner died and 3 people bought the company. One of which has been bloody horrible. We have done nothing but Damage control for this man since 1996. He is small in stature but has a 110% Napoleon complex. He gains knowledge through discussions with others in the industry and then figures that info is the gospel. He doesn’t listen to those who are actually running the show. He feels he knows more and he knows better. Plus he says nice things to people’s faces but sticks a sword in their backs and twists it. He grew into a power hungry little Doltard. Finally This little man has been squeezed out of a position of power and is now on the sidelines and everyone in the company can not only function better but can breath again. Who knows if it’s too late as the world is changing faster now than it ever has. Sadly his ego now seems to be to be quietly sabotaging any business relationship he can. Simply to prove that he is right and everybody else is wrong.
    The reason for my story is to agree that sometimes there is good factual information that comes from the least likely source. If that information is coming from other than just sour grapes. Then a company or corporation better sit up and take notice.
    I have no idea if the information coming from field level has merit. It sounds like it does as it’s not just coming from released players. It’s coming from existing players. It’s no secret that Kent Austin has a huge Ego. He’s just one bar below Jason Mass when Kent goes off the deep end. So I could easily see where Kent would feel he knows more than anyone else and he isn’t going to listen. Hey ex EE GM Ed Hervey was and is of the exact same personality.
    The best thing they could do in Hamton is to take away some of the titles, power and control from Kent. Allow those around him to not only have a say but to implement their ideas.
    The only way we could ever implement our ideas was to put a seed in the one partners head. Then feed the seed with all of our ideas and allow it to grow in his fuzzy brain. Then and only then if he figured it was his idea then it would get implemented.
    Talk about a pure waste of time, energy and a whole lot of nothing just to get it done. I sure hope they do something in Hamilton this off season to fix what is certainly cracked at the foundation.

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