One gets the sense that Alouette receiver Duron Carter wants no part of Kent Austin.
It’s hard to imagine the Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach falling to the ground in a heap, as was the case when Carter bumped Ottawa Redblacks coach Rick Campbell after a particularly spectacular touchdown catch on June 30.
Carter was ejected from the game and received a one-game suspension from the CFL for his actions but would likely face a different kind of retribution from Austin should he try a repeat performance.
“He always looks mean,” a laughing Carter said of Austin. “We’ve played him six or seven times and I’ve never seen him smile once.”
Carter is challenging his suspension and so he will play on Friday when the Ticats come to visit, courteous of the CFL’s laborious appeals process. He was anything but contrite on Thursday and maintains he doesn’t remember the play, nevermind the aftermath, after taking a hellacious hit right before the bump.
“I wouldn’t say it wasn’t me because everybody knows that’s me… I regret that I got suspended,” Carter said. “You can tell who’s really sorry and who just wants to get it over with. I can’t wait to meet up with Ottawa next game. That’s all I have to say about it.”
General manager and head coach Jim Popp denied Carter’s antics and inevitable hot take maelstrom was a distraction to the team…though Popp did spend more than 12 minutes of a 20 minute press conference talking about it.
“I think everybody would like the problem, or the situation, resolved quickly so that it’s not the focus, it’s not the attention, it’s not the negativity that may come out of it,” Popp said. “The quicker things are settled, the better.”
The Alouettes certainly have other issues beyond Carter, who will play despite experiencing what he described as “bad headaches” during the week. The team is without leading receiver S.J. Green, top running back Tyrell Sutton and starting quarterback Kevin Glenn.
Second-year man Rakeem Cato will get the start for Montreal and despite his limited experience – just 10 CFL starts – two of his four career victories came at the expense of the Ticats last season.
Hamilton coughed up the ball over eight times in those two contests, losing the turnover battle each time. That’s a habit they’ve repeated early this season, including six giveaways in a 28-24 loss to Winnipeg last week.
Ticat quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was charged with four of those miscues, two coming via interception, the other two on fumbles. And while Masoli took responsibility for the mistakes, Austin says that doesn’t mean he’s solely to blame.
“There are different categories that create turnovers, one of them is decision-making and that’s controllable by the quarterback and the guy that coaches him,” Austin said. “There are plenty of other categories that the quarterback has partially but not completely responsibility for. He’s got to be protected, receivers have to catch the ball, those types of things.”
Not only is Austin sticking with Masoli – he’s yet to be pulled from a game this season – but the Ticats are making precious few line up changes this week. Everett Golson will be the No. 3 quarterback after the trade that sent Jake Waters to Saskatchewan earlier this week and Geoff Hughes replaces injured Canadian defensive back Jay Langa. But the 24 offensive and defensive starters are the same.
“You have to show some level of wisdom early in the season,” Austin said. “We’re a little bit further along with some core guys and we know what to expect from them. It’s important to create some level of continuity.”
While Austin may know what to expect from his team, the same can hardly be said for Carter who says he has something special planned if he scores a touchdown against Hamilton.
“I’ll have a little something, a little choreography,” Carter said, smiling.
At least for now.
Notes: Ticat defensive back and former Alouette Dominique Ellis is eager to face his old team after they cut him in June after signing him to a contract extension in the off-season. “They know who I am over there. They know I take everything personally, that’s who I am,” Ellis said. “I don’t forgive and I don’t forget. It’s on and they know it. They know.”