Everett Golson’s great Canadian adventure

They say you can never have enough good friends and good shoes but Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin – a guy who wears the same pair of kicks to practice every day – would like to add another item to the list: good quarterbacks.

The Ticats added former Notre Dame pivot Everett Golson to the practice roster on Monday, making him the sixth player Hamilton has under contract at the position. But in a league where the quality of the quarterback play can make or break a team, it’s quite impossible to have too much of a good thing.

“That’s exactly the philosophy, as long as there is enough spots – we’d have nine here, if we could,”Austin said.

Golson certainly has the pedigree. He started his college career with Notre Dame, leading the Fighting Irish to the 2013 BCS Championship game (they lost 42-14 to Alabama.) But academic issues forced him from the team the following season and he left the school after the 2014 campaign for Florida State. He played started eight games for the Seminoles last year, throwing for 1,778 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

After a couple of tryouts with NFL teams, Golson turned his attention to the CFL. The Ticats have been following him for some time – they added him on their negotiation list in 2014 after he was dropped by Edmonton – and brought him up for a workout last Sunday.

“He’s here to be evaluated. He’s a talented athlete, he has a strong arm, he can pull the ball down and run,” head coach Kent Austin said. “He played at a high level in college so we’ll see how quickly he can pick things up.”

This is Golston’s inaugural trip to Canada and his first exposure to the CFL game came last Thursday when he watched Hamilton’s win over Toronto on TV (he had an inkling he was coming.) It’s a lot to take in but he seems to taking it in stride, joking about the differences in the currency and the absence of the penny.

“Transferring schools there was a learning curve, a kind of shifting of your mindset so this is kind of the same process,” Golson said. “I’ve been through that before so I can take what I learned and apply it now.”

Golson said all the right things about the Canadian game, too, likening it “basketball on turf” and noting the CFL’s early embrace of mobile, athletic quarterbacks and freewheeling style – things the American game has only recently adopted. He answered the inevitable question about his aspirations perfectly, too.

“Whether the NFL happens, or whatever, is it’s own deal,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy my time here and learn as much as I can.”

Austin noted that the team utilized four quarterbacks last season and with Zach Collaros and Jacory Harris currently sidelined, adding another passer made some sense, timing-wise. Developing Golson could be challenging, however, as there are only so many practice reps to go around and zero playing time, barring disaster.

But there’s also the future to think about. Harris and current No. 2 Jeff Mathews are free agents after this season yet the team may find themselves with an embarrassment of riches at the position if Jeremiah Masoli continues his excellent play and Collaros returns to his 2015 form later this season. We’ve already seen Montreal surrender at 2017 first rounder to B.C. for a promising young quarterback (former Oregon Duck Vernon Adams) earlier this season. Golson could potentially be back up material or trade fodder.

Of course, Golson isn’t concerned with any of that: he’s just trying to figure out the Canadian game and why the change he received after buying a burger and fries on Sunday night weighs so much.

“They gave me two loonies and a toonie and I was like ‘oh, nice!” he said. “I was happy.”

Notes: all-star defensive tackle Ted Laurent practiced Monday with the first-team defensive unit and Austin said he’s on track to play Friday vs. B.C…. receiver Terrence Toliver missed practice with an upper body injury… former Ticats running back Mossis Madu has been sinced to the Ottawa practice roster while ex-Hamilton kicker Luca Congi signed a one-day contract with Saskatchewan so he could retire a Rider. He played six seasons in Regina won a Grey Cup with the club in 2007.

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