The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were without their top three receivers for Wednesday’s practice at Tim Hortons Field but head coach Kent Austin says he expects the trio to be ready in time for Sunday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders.
Luke Tasker (51 catches, 554 yards), Chad Owens (39 catches, 529 yards) and Andy Fantuz (44 catches, 504 yards) all sat out the team’s first practice since defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders last Saturday in what Austin described as a “maintenance” day.
“All three have gotten beat up a little bit recently but nothing major,” Austin.
Tasker, Owens and Fantuz play the three inside or slot receiver positions closest to the quarterback. All three players have more than 60 targets so far this season,
“Typically, the inside guys are more physical, that’s for sure,” Austin said. “They’re also at the point of attack in the run game.”
While Tasker has been durable the last two seasons, missing just five games both the 34-year-old Owens and the 32-year-old Fantuz have struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons. Owens hasn’t played a full season since 2012, while Fantuz has missed nine games in 2014 and 10 the following year.
The Ticats have eight days between games this week but face a stretch that will see them play three games in 12 days starting with the Labour Day Classic. So getting rest while they can is key.
“The most important thing is getting to the game,” Austin said.
Apparently, Zach Collaros doesn’t bother to add weekly awards to his trophy case.
The Ticat quarterback was named one of the CFL’s top performers for Week 9 after he threw a career-high five touchdown passes on 381 yards to lead the Tiger-Cats to a 53-7 rout over Saskatchewan on Saturday.
“Those awards don’t mean anything. It’s a total team game and I thought we played a pretty good game,” Collaros said. “We can’t rest on our laurels. Because we played well last week, we can’t expect to play well this week.”
It was Collaros’s second game back after missing the start of the season while recovering from a torn knee ligament. It was also Hamilton’s first home win of the season.
Montreal quarterback Kevin Glenn (a former Ticat) and Edmonton defensive back Patrick Watkins were also honoured. Glenn threw five touchdown passes on 382 yards as the Alouttes earned a 43-19 road win over Ottawa on Friday. He went 25-of-30 with no interceptions for an 83.3 per cent completion rate.
Watkins had two picks in the fourth multiple-interception game in his career as Eskimos posted a convincing 46-23 victory in Toronto on Saturday. Watkins also added six tackles and a pass knockdown.