When Geoff Tisdale was released from the Saskatchewan Roughriders after just four games last season, he turned to his father Matthew for direction and guidance.
“My dad has worked construction for more than 50 years and I watched how he went about everything. He doesn’t cut corners and he takes his craft very seriously,” Tisdale said. “He helped me understand the things that were happening weren’t always in my control and that I had to keep working, keep training.”
Tisdale didn’t get to spend Father’s Day with his dad on Sunday — Pops was back in California — but it’s unlikely the old man is going to mind. Instead, his son was at Tim Hortons Field beginning his third tour with the Ticats after injuries and inexperience decimated the team’s secondary during training camp. The team also signed defensive back Dominique Ellis, who started 13 games for Montreal secondary last season.
“As close to the season as we are, it’s tough to get somebody who’s brand new, who hasn’t been up in this league and learn our defence,” said head coach Kent Austin.
Ellis had 45 tackles and two interceptions last season and can also contribute as a special teams cover guy and return man. The Alouettes cut him loose on Saturday without providing him with much by way of explanation.
“It’s strange over there, I’ll put it to you like that,” Ellis said. “But it’s a blessing in disguise. Initially, it catches you off guard but now that I’m here, it’s fantastic.”
The Ticats made a series of roster moves on Sunday as teams around the league made their final roster cuts before next Thursday’s season opener. Hamilton released 13 players while adding 10 to the practice roster.
Among the departures was American kicker Cody Mandell, who missed a pair of field goals and two extra points in Friday’s 42-25 exhibition win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night. That means Brett Maher has won the job after surviving a series of challenges that began with kicker cattle call last April and included mini-camp, training camp and the pre-season games.
“Just the volume of kicks and the number of situations they threw at us, it’s probably the most challenging thing that I’ve been through in my professional career,” Maher said. “But I think it will set me up to have success this season.”
The starting quarterback for Thursday’s game versus Toronto has also been settled: Jeremiah Masoli will get the nod, as expected.
“Jeremiah will be our starter. He’s earned it at the end of last year and his play during training camp and his play in the pre-season,” Austin said. “He has a calmness about him that I think influences his teammates.”
Like Masoli, Tisdale may very well begin the starting line up for the Ticats at BMO Field on Thursday, providing his dad with yet another, albeit belated Father’s Day gift.
“My mom is my biggest fan, my wife is a huge supporter, but my Dad is the one,” Tisdale said. “He knows how much this mean to me.”
NOTES: Austin said there’s still no timeline for the return of quarterback Zach Collaros, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered last September. “We don’t really know yet. We’re getting closer to at least a window of when he might practice but that date hasn’t been set by the doctors,” Austin said. … Centre Mike Filer and receiver Andy Fantuz, who missed the last chunk of training camp due to injury, practised fully on Sunday but defensive tackle Ted Laurent still isn’t 100 per cent. … Tisdale is wearing No. 24 and has now worn seven different numbers in eight CFL seasons (3, 9, 29, 31, 12, 21, 24). “It’s not a bad looking number, as long as it’s not 57 or something, it’ll do just fine,” Tisdale said.