Ticats June Jones and Jeremiah Masoli exude laid-back leadership style

After June Jones took over as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats mid-way through last season, players raved about the change in culture and environment. But how did a soft-spoken 65-year-old who hadn’t coached at the professional or collegiate level for more than three years get a roomful of unknown players to buy in?

And, more importantly, how does he keep it going this season?

Jones talked a little bit about his leadership style during the Hamilton Tiger-Cats season preview conference call on Tuesday as the team heads into 2018 with heightened expectations after a 6-4 finish following last year’s catastrophic 0-8 start.

“I really believe that the leaders of the team have to take ownership of the team and that allows all the guys to play at a high level,” Jones said. “We help them with the things we do and they have to trust us in some of the things we tell them but at the same time, the good teams take ownership and accountability and that’s how you get the best out of players.”

This is not a particularly unique philosophy – it actually sounds a lot like the one espoused by former head coach Kent Austin – but there were some subtle practical differences under Jones. He addresses the entire team after virtually every practice (something Austin rarely did) and also introduced mandatory team dinners the night before games on the road.

Jones also seems to recognize the importance of plurality in leadership, that his voice and style won’t necessarily resonate with every player. He points to new defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville – one of the most colourful people in football – as the sunglasses-at-all-times yang to his ying.

“There’s a whole bunch of different personalities, some guys need a kick in the ass, some guys need a pat on the back,” Jones said. “I’m a laid back kind of guy but at the same time, I have guys in place that are different from me and that’s how you get a well-rounded player.”

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who generally takes the same low-key approach to leading as his coach, nonetheless acknowledges that his role will be different given that he arrives at training camp as the undisputed No. 1.

“It’s been a little different for sure, just mentality-wise, knowing that the success of the offence has a lot to do with how I perform,” Masoli said. “That responsibility is in the back of your mind so you just want to make sure that you’re as ready as can be.”

Masoli has evolved both as a player and a leader in his five years with Hamilton. He arrived as a former big-time college quarterback – new American players are still more likely to know him as the ex Oregon star who played in the Rose Bowl – who developed a work ethic that remained steady even as he tumbled down the depth chart in 2015.

When he finally got his opportunities – filling in for the injured Zach Collaros, then replacing him when he faltered last year – Masoli’s teammates were already sold on his demeanour and ability.

Much of that core group – receivers Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker, linebacker Simoni Lawrence, defensive tackle Ted Laurent to name just four – remains intact. And many, like Masoli, elected to return when Jones re-signed as head coach in December.

“We kind of got a taste of some of the success and potential we have and that’s why a lot of the guys signed back,” Masoli said. “We see that the sky’s the limit for us and all we have to do is put the work in and it will pay off. It’s an already proven system for us.”

It will, of course, be different this time around. Taking over a 0-8 team and leading them back to something resembling contention was impressive but Jones and Masoli won’t catch anyone by surprise in 2018. Hamilton will be expected to continue the upward trajectory on which they finished last season.

Unsurprisingly, both Jones and Masoli seem entirely unphased by whatever artificial expectations will be placed upon them by outside forces.

“There’s always pressure and expectation, we’re lucky to be in a position to have that. I never really feel pressure just like I don’t think Jeremiah does in a game,” Jones said.

“You do what you do, you get everybody ready and you let the chips fall where they will.”

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.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1519 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.

26 Comments on Ticats June Jones and Jeremiah Masoli exude laid-back leadership style

  1. Mr Red // May 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm //

    Somehow I always thought June Jones was an old school hard ass

  2. Jeff May // May 8, 2018 at 6:22 pm //

    2018: The Year of the CATS!!

  3. I’d be very surprised if the TiCats aren’t at least 10-8 this year

    • Dundas dude // May 9, 2018 at 10:04 pm //

      Beauty! So likely first in the East (with 10-8 record), and favourites for the Eastern three peat in winning the Cup!

  4. I believe that Cats will be in contention for first place this year.

    • No doubt ,they play in the pathetic east division
      Don’t even need a winning record to win the division

  5. Lennywasout // May 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

    Finally an article about the Ticats and NOT Johnny Nutcase. Keep it up 3Down,

  6. Ticats63 // May 8, 2018 at 6:44 pm //

    High expectations are being set, but in reality, I think most fans – me included – would be very happy with a playoff spot.

    A home playoff game would be great, and a division title a bonus.

    Remember, the others teams are (?) getting better too.

  7. June jones doesn’t have mich pressure of Manziel comes. He knows he has a Very good chance to get to the grey cup. On the other hand Masoli knows Manziel talent it it will not be long where Manziel will start. I don’t think masoli doubts that could happen. Great situation for any team if they have a pair of quarterbacks like masoli and Manziel who can both perform.

    • Steve J. // May 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm //

      I’m looking forward to booing Manziel enthusiastically on the sidelines in the rare chance that he actually does suit up with the Cats. I sit right behind the bench and delight in the thought of taunting him mercilessly, win or lose. I originally was against him coming to Hamilton, but having the opportunity to make his life miserable, as he has made mine misrable by forcing us to put up with these insipid stories of his overblown ego, gives me something to look forward to this season. The only thing that could make me happier would be to watch him slink out of town mid-season with his tail between his legs. Bring it, Manziel.

      • Yikes. Not very mature. How about just being happy for good team play and cheer on whoever is under centre?

        • Steve J. // May 9, 2018 at 10:50 pm //

          How about we cheer for the guys who’ve put in the work, Phil. You wouldn’t dump your girlfriend at the dance just because some good looking piece of tail walked through the door? My point being, Manziel is a rent a player who bring zero success at the Pro level and a circus sideshow that only detracts from players who are more deserving of the attention. I am behind the Cats 100%. It’s Manziel I have the problem with.

  8. Moncton Ticats fan // May 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm //

    Jeff May – I love your unwavering enthusiasm – “The year of the Cats”!! You’ve been saying that for years, and hopefully this year will be the one?? This just might be the Ticats team that can do it.

  9. FrankS // May 8, 2018 at 7:16 pm //

    At this time of the league, every team is headed straight for the Grey Cup. It is a time of optimism and opportunity. Hamilton players feel this way, as do others in the East; in Toronto, Ottawa, and yes, Montreal. All the best to the Ticats because they are going to need it.

    • One of these teams will be there , they will get that undeserved home playoff game and free pass to the cup ,this has been going on for years

  10. Masoli reminds me of Darian Durant… same stalky build and able to move around in the pocket. I think he’ll be about on par with Darian as his career progresses. This would be a good thing. As for the June Jones… I’m not sure. We will see what happens this year. Austin was an awesome coach and brought this team to the big show… he had a down year… ok maybe disastrous, and maybe he was too patient with Collaros. But I sure hope he’s back coaching in the CFL (LIONS:)

    If Masoli can string together wins and stay healthy… Johnny football may not get a chance to start for a long time.

  11. @Esks… what do the Argos and the Red Blacks have in common? They are each from the “pathetic” East Division. Oh yeah and they each won a Grey Cup in the past two years… so much for your Western domination… LOL

    • MJ Bandit // May 8, 2018 at 11:12 pm //

      Hey, shhhh – don’t pI$$ in the typical cry-baby Westerner’s corn-flakes.

      We gots soil oil in our ground – gee, we’re greeeaaaaat – let’s bend over and get reamed by the big oil Corporations. LOL !

  12. Vince Lombardi said “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”…that’s what I hear Coach Jones saying. 🙂

  13. Anything more on Chapstick? Hope his small body dimension can take the CFL pounding. One of these days I’m sure there will be a reincarnation of another great TC receiver…Flutie, Winfield, Dipietro, Gabriel…

  14. Enough about johnny freaking sucks at football …..masoli paid his dues was a back up here for the last few years watched the team being in a couple qb’s that were putvahesd of him to start the guy never complained paid more dues and finally got the opportunity to replace Zack (0-10) And at the time took an 0-8 team that already had a coach that lost the room in Austin to 6 wins and almost a playoff birth I for one am behind Masoli 100% and have no reason to criticize the guy and people who are on here criticizing him and wishing johnny was here are just ignorant as##les . If johnny showes up and I hope he doesn’t than so be it he will not beat out Masoli and pretty sure he won’t even make it through camp . Jeremiah is the guy …start embracing it !

  15. Freelasagnahunter // May 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm //

    Laid back coach and QB. A beta reporter with limited football knowledge dream come true.
    They wont be mean to me about all those football terms and questions and stuff.

  16. Barry McCawkiner // May 10, 2018 at 6:42 am //

    12-6 – 10-8 would impress me. Nothing short of a Grey Cup win for Hammertown will make me happy thou.

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