Milton: Ticat fans will be pleased June Jones is back

As anticipated, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are bringing June Jones back. And that news will most certainly excite their large fan base.

Vice-President of Football Operations Kent Austin announced Monday morning that Jones had signed for the 2018 season. Jones was brought in as an assistant coach to Austin beginning August 2 then took over reins on Aug. 24 when Austin removed himself from the position.

The Tiger-Cats were 0-8 when he became head coach and went 6-4 coming home, narrowly missing the playoffs.

Under Jones, Hamilton’s offence posted the CFL’s most points for (295), net offence (4,071 yards), passing yards (3,081), rushing yards (1,149), offensive touchdowns (28), rushing touchdowns (13), first downs (226) and were second in points for per game (29.5), all while turning the ball over just a league-low 13 times.

Defensively, Hamilton ranked first in rushing yards allowed per game (73.4), quarterback sacks (33), forced fumbles (13) and pass knock downs (38), and were second in interceptions (12) and net offence allowed per game (335.5 yards) over its last 10 games.

“I’m extremely excited to build on where we left off last season and ultimately continue working toward bringing a Grey Cup back to Hamilton,” Jones said in a statement released by the team. “I really felt an immediate connection with our players and this community when I arrived last season, and I’m grateful to Bob Young, Scott Mitchell and Kent Austin for this opportunity.”

Jones, 64, has been coaching since 1983 and is best known for powerful NCAA programs at the University of Hawaii and SMU. Usually considered a pass-first coach, he also has a strong history of developing a complementary running game and that trait helped Hamilton develop a better ground attack in the second half of the season. That, in turn, helped the offensive line gel and gave quarterback Jeremiah Masoli more options.

Under Jones, Masoli replaced starter Zach Collaros and Jones’ signing would indicate that the Tiger-Cats are interested in bringing back Masoli, who is a free agent. Collaros is under contract for one more year.

Masoli thrived under Jones, as did the offensive line, receivers Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker and new tailback Alex Green, especially after CJ Gable was traded to Edmonton in early October. The defence also made large statistical strides after Jones was made head coach.

“What June accomplished here as a head coach in the last half of the 2017 season was nothing short of remarkable,” Austin said in the press release.

Jones will talk to the media via conference call at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
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Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (100 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

34 Comments on Milton: Ticat fans will be pleased June Jones is back

  1. Tommy Duville // December 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm //

    This is a good move for the TiCats: both on & off the fields. The next announcement will be the signing of Johnny Manziel. Things are trending in the right direction for the TigerCats !!!

  2. I can’t help but compare this to the BC Lions in 2000. Greg Mohns was the coach and had previous success with the team. Unfortunately his insanely intense personality wore thin on the team and he lost the room mid-season. Steve Burrato replaced him and with his calm demeanour the team flourished and won the Cup that year. Didn’t last long though as the post-Mohns effect wore off in the next couple of seasons. Unfortunately Burrato was not a long term solution at all and he was replaced. This begs the question, is June Jones the real deal or was the true reason that the team started winning was because Austin was NOT there? We’ll find out in 2018…

    • Every situation is different. Past has no impact on the future. June is a good coach and deserves to return. That is about all the conclusions we can draw.

    • Austin had no use for a run game to the point that Ottawa fans were happy their team didn’t have deal with a Gable run game.

      Jones made minor changes to be competitive in every game so I think he is the real deal. Ten games is not the full season but with a full off season plus training camp also means Jones can put in place what he wants instead of tinkering with what was there.

  3. Check out the stats of how we were ahead of the league during his brief tenure here. And that’s an 0 and 8 team suddenly leading the league in stats. I still say Calgary’s demise started with the game against us, like we exposed them or something.
    2018: THE YEAR OF THE CATS!!! Come and join us!

    • If your comment was directed towards me, I am not one of those “Stampeder fans” that infects this website. I am one the intelligent ones. Do I need to change my pseudonym? If it was not directed at me, carry on and have a good week.

      • I’d never put down a fellow cfl fan. I only said, after Calgary played Hamilton, Calgary didn’t win as easily. The same with Edmonton to a degree. My comment was purely about Hamilton
        Had fun with Calgary fans in T O at 16 GC, in fact!
        Perhaps we will meet in Edmonton next year! For the Grey Cup Us in Hamilton know what its like to loose two years in a row! Remember that Kick return coming back! His last cut on way to endzone was right in front of me!
        Two great Grey Cups Calgary has just been involved in. Both blow away any Superbowls!

  4. As I’ve said previously, with those stats, it’s time to jump on the Masoli bandwagon. He doesn’t look like a “classic” quarterback? So what! There have been lots of successful CFL quarterbacks who weren’t classic. You don’t have to look further than Danny Mac for Hamilton fans. He looked like a guy you’d have a beer with, only he’d been waiting at the bar for you for ten years! There’s also Calvillo and Lancaster to name a couple more.

  5. BigRedMachine // December 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

    I wonder when Collaros next bonus is due? Most agents try and time it to early in the New Year in order to give their clients the maximum amount of time to find a new team in the event the team cuts them.

  6. I for one am extremely happy with the signing ! Will June bring his own staff ? Will he want Masoli signed As a priority? Ticats have the least free agents of all cfl teams this off season so the turnover will be limited I would think. Things are looking better people!

  7. Not everyone is happy. Three of those wins were against Montreal. Any team can build stars with them. Losing Collars is huge and if they are stupid enough to sign s drunk then they deserve everything they get. That will be nothing, typical Austin move.

    • … and they were competitive in every game, including a few that a couple of better decisions would have sealed the game for them.

      Throw in wins against BC where the Cats have not won in years and winning in Winnipeg against what was at that point, one of the hottest teams in the league.

      If it was only Montreal or they had looked bad against other teams then I could see the concern. Four losses by seven points, with several well under that mark suggests this is about a changed team versus beating up a weak team.

      Keep in mind Jones now has a full off season as well as training camp to get his system in place instead of doing what he can as he prepares for that week’s game.

    • Two wins vs. the Als, in weeks 18 and 20.

      If the Cats weren’t very competitive in the 4 losses under Jones I’d be less impressed, but they had opportunities to win every one of those games… a big difference compared to most of the losses before Labour Day.

      • Not sure how I missed two wins against the Als being converted to three wins.

        Even for those wins, in previous years when the Als were in trouble – the Cats barely beat them or lost. Under Jones, both games were blowouts.

        As I say, I think Jones is the real deal, where now he has time to go all-in.

    • One of those wins was also at BC Place, where the TC’s haven’t won since Glenn, of all people, was QB. Maybe the Lion’s didn’t have a great season but the stadium is still tough to play in. And after going year after year for the past decade and seeing the TC’s get pummelled there time and time again it was refreshing to see Masoli lead them to a victory.

  8. Argos Rule // December 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm //

    This could also be good for the Argos. Jones has no interest in giving collaros a chance, so if Ray retires, Zach comes bach to Toronto and trestman can work his magic on another qb. And if ray decides to play another year or two,the cats best qb is either on the sidelines or with another team that we dont really have to worry about right away, like Montreal. Back to back cups coming up.

  9. QB picture now becomes clearer in Hamilton.

    Jeremiah Masoli – re-signed
    Johnny Manziel – signed
    Zach Collaros – released unless they find a sucker willing to pay him $540k for 2018.

    • Billinburlington // December 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm //

      My hope…..

      Johnny Manziel- signed
      Jeremiah Masoli – signs elsewhere in disgust
      Collaros soundly outplays Manziel for starters job
      Collaros leads Ticats to Grey Cup.
      Manziel fades away

      • I’m with you Billinburlington! Johnny Football might have the talent but the bigger question is does he have the work ethic – a willingness to learn the nuances of the Canadian game and stay out of trouble? If he does I have no problem with him but until he can prove that I’m a big doubter that he can succeed. Jones thinks JM can make it back to the NFL if he’s willing to commit to 3-4 years here but frankly I don’t think he’ll want to do that.

    • Yep…just read the tea leaves.

  10. The first domino to drop. Very interesting to see what happens next with the Hamilton QB’s plus the other CFL team’s QBs. At this point all bets are off!

  11. Why is my comment always not allowed?

  12. I’m probably one of the few ticat fans how don’t like Jones signing…I just have a bad feeling about this….

  13. Who not how

  14. It is official June Jones just announced that Johnny Manziel will be a very special player in the CFL. He recognized the talent and if Johnny Manziel is committed and dedicated the fans are in for a treat. Good marketing and exposure for the team and for the cfl.

  15. I hope Jones has a talent package of football players he can bring with him like Austin brought along Tasker from his college days.The Cats need an infusion of new talent like a patient needs fresh blood to gain strength.

  16. A wise old Cat June Jones is. TiCats lucky to have him lead the pack per say. With the right players and coaches things are looking good for the TiCats in 2018.

  17. DoubleBlue1873 // December 4, 2017 at 8:44 pm //

    Will likely be a much more competitive East (other than Mtl) with June back in Hamilton. I was sceptical when they first brought him in but he turned that team around fast.

    • Agreed, Jones did a great job in Hamilton last season.
      Eastern division up for grabs next season which should make for some exciting CFL football!

  18. Good move ti-cats.

  19. Any Cats fan that thinks Johnny football will be great for the team needs to give there head a shake. He been out of pro football for three seasons, isn’t in any shape to play pro ball, has never probably seen a CFL game, has zero desire to stay longer than he needs to (2 yrs), will take him half a season to learn the rules, and so on and so on. Give Zach the ball and let him run Jones offence. If Toronto get Zach be prepared for another Argo’s Grey Cup victory next season while we tank with Johnny Zero!

  20. Most of us are pleased.

    But if he should take even one misstep or lose more than one game..and the whining and complaining will surely begin…

  21. John – That’s a VERY big “IF” IMO!

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