Uncertainty surrounds Ticats play calling duties

Four days before the Hamilton Tiger-Cats home opener against the B.C. Lions and quarterback Zach Collaros isn’t exactly sure who’ll be calling the offensive plays.

Head coach Kent Austin was on the headset during last Saturday’s loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders but coordinator Stefan Ptaszek performed the duties week one against the Argonauts.

Austin wasn’t in the mood to clarify after Tuesday’s practice.

“It is a collaborative effort. I did call the plays, it doesn’t mean that I’ll do that going forward,” Austin said. “There’s always reasons for that, depending on the responsibilities of the other guys and that will continue.”

That said, Austin and Ptaszek won’t share play-calling duties going forward.

“I don’t think that will be the case. We want consistency with that. Some of that has to do with preparation and viability to prepare as well, in light of my other responsibilities,” Austin said. “It will be determined based on all the other factors that I’m not going to get into right now, going forward, based on a level of consistency in that regard, that gives us the best chance to win football games.”

Ptaszek, who spent ten years as the head coach of the McMaster Marauders, was hired in May of 2016 after the sudden departure of Tommy Condell. But while he held the title, it would be a stretch to say that he fulfilled the duties of offensive coordinator in the traditional sense last season as Austin did the lion’s share of the game-planning, ran the offence during practice and called the plays during games.

That was supposed to change this season with Ptaszek taking a larger role in the offence, including play calling, but it lasted just one game before Austin took over against the Riders.

Regardless of who’s been in charge, the Ticat offence has struggled this season. They’ve scored just one offensive touchdown through two games and are averaging just 11.5 offensive points per contest, by far the worst mark in the CFL. Of the 20 major offensive categories tracked by the league, the Ticats are last in 14 of them.

Collaros, who has been critical of his own play so far this season, says who calls the plays matters little to him.

“I don’t think it affects me at all. I’m just doing what I’m coached to do and I think that’s really all I can be asked to do,” Collaros said. “I would feel comfortable with coach Austin or coach Ptaszek. That’s not a decision for me to make.”

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