Ticats round up: video preview, Austin on Masoli, Reinebold extension, roster moves

A few items of interest from the Ticats walkthrough before the game against the B.C. Lions…

• the Ticats have signed special teams coordinator Jeff Reinebold to a contract extension that will keep him in Hamilton through next season. This is another example of the Ticats under vice-president of football operations and head coach Kent Austin maintaining continuity in the coaching staff as Reinebold has been with Austin all four seasons thus far. Reinebold has done an excellent job with Hamilton’s kicking units, unleashing a slew of schemes that have led to blocks, onside kicks and return touchdowns.

Reinebold’s been a bit of a coaching nomad and, assuming he fulfils the terms of this new deal, the five years in Hamilton will be longest he has coached in any one place. He got choked up today talking about his program that brings kids from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington to every home game.

• much has made about Jeremiah Masoli’s emergence as a starting quarterback, which is especially remarkable given that he was on the practice roster for two games last seasom before Zach Collaros got hurt. Austin said today that Masoli – who had to be released in order to be added to the PR and could have signed anywhere – weighed his options before ultimately deciding to return to the Ticats.

“We told him that we would support him and he knew that. I said ‘Jeremiah, give it some time and think about it and I’ll support you no matter what you want to do,'” Austin said. “He came back the next day and said ‘coach, I want to stay here.’ To his credit, it’s worked out for him. He’s a good man.”

I wrote about some of this last season, but I believe Masoli earned the trust and respect of teammates in part because of the stand up way he handled his demotion and that he continued to put the work in despite his situation.

“What’s gone through, hanging in there and his perseverance… he wants to be here and he didn’t want to go other places,” Austin said. “Players see that, they respond to that.”

• the Ticats made a couple of game day roster moves adding defensive tackle Ted Laurent, receiver Tiquan Underwood and linebacker Ron Omara while removing linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis (one-game injured list) and receivers Terrence Toliver (six-game injured list) and Mike Jones (one-game injured list.)

Laurent is the big addition, given he’s been an all-star the last two seasons, while Toliver will miss some time with an upper body injury suffered against Toronto.

Hamilton has also added American offensive lineman Terrence Campbell to the practice roster (he was with the team in training camp) along with Canadian linebacker Geoff Hughes. Receiver Kealoha Pilares and offensive lineman Xavier Proctor have been released.

Some more details…

Game 2: B.C. Lions (1-0) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-0)
Friday, July 1, at Tim Hortons Field
Game time: 7 p.m. | TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150

The storyline for B.C.:

The Lions are coming off a 20-18 home win over the Calgary Stampeders in which they had three punts blocked in the first half, but got a 72-yard punt return touchdown from Chris Rainey to pull it out late. Quarterback Jonathon Jennings is now 4-3 in seven career starts and is considered one the game’s up-and-coming quarterbacks.

Key injuries:

The only player of note on the Lions’ injured list is offensive tackle Levy Adcock, who started 13 games for the Riders last season before coming to Vancouver as a free agent.

Five funky B.C. stats:

1. Wally Buono has returned to the sidelines as coach of the Lions this season and now has 255 regular season wins. The CFL’s other eight coaches: 153 combined victories.

2. Buono’s staff features three former Ticat coaches, including Marcel Bellefeuille (head coach, 2009 to 2011), Khari Jones (quarterbacks, 2009-10) and offensive co-ordinator (2011); and Marcello Simmons (defensive and special teams assistant 2014-15.)

2. McMaster product Jason Arakgi has 176 career special teams tackles, good enough for No. 2 all-time (tied with two others.) With another solid season — he has never had less than 14 — Arakgi will move past Wade Miller (184) into top spot.

4. The Lions have made the playoffs in 19 consecutive seasons, the CFL’s longest active streak, and trail only Edmonton’s 34-year run from 1972 to 2005.

5. The Lions allowed an average of more than seven yards per play on second down in their win over Calgary last week.

The storyline for Hamilton:

The Ticats answered a number of questions in their Week 1 win over the Toronto Argonauts — could quarterback Jeremiah Masoli win games in the absence of Zach Collaros? Would their kicking game be OK without Justin Medlock? How would a rebuilt secondary hold up? — but now must demonstrate that these things were a reflection of reality and not an aberration.

Key injuries and roster changes:

All-star defensive tackle Ted Laurent makes his return after missing the pre-season and Week 1 with a lower body injury. American receiver Terrence Toliver is out after getting hurt last week versus Toronto, with Tiquan Underwood taking his spot.

Five funky Hamilton stats:

1. The last time the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won their opening game of the season was 2004, when they went 3-0 to start the year. They finished 9-8-1 and lost in the East Semifinal.

2. The Ticats are 3-0 in home openers under head coach Kent Austin.

3. Hamilton quarterback Masoli in his last two starts: 57 for 79 (72 per cent), 667 yards, five touchdowns, one interception.

4. Hamilton has allowed a total of 185 quarterback sacks over the past three seasons, ranking them near or at the bottom of the CFL each year. But the team gave up just two last week against Toronto.

5. Ticat receivers by target last week (catches in parenthesis): Chad Owens 11 (6), Andy Fantuz 8 (7), Luke Tasker 8 (8), Brandon Banks 5 (4), Spencer Watt 3 (1), Terrence Toliver 1 (1.)

TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde

Referee: Al Bradbury (doing his second straight Hamilton game.)

Weather: Partly sunny, 20C, winds out of the northwest at 26 km/h.

Things to know: the Tiger-Cats will be holding a Canada Day fireworks display at the stadium immediately after the game.


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