The Hamilton Tiger-Cats hired an assistant coach on Tuesday without causing an international incident.
Just over a month after adding former Baylor head coach Art Briles then promptly reversing course under a withering barrage of criticism, the team has added Dan Morrison as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach. Like Briles, Morrison has known head June Jones for decades but comes with none of the baggage.
For Jones, it’s an opportunity to bring in a familiar face who understands the intricacies of the run-and-shoot offence. Morrison was on staff at both SMU and Hawaii, where Jones was head coach, and the two have spent 16 years together.
“I’m kind of doing everything so when I’m not with the QBs he can sit with them and he knows all the reads,” Jones said. “The more people that know what we’re doing helps. It makes it better, it makes it easier.”
Morrison was home in Dallas, Texas when he got the call from Jones and says it was the opportunity to be a part of yet another resurrection that was most appealing. Both SMU and Hawaii were perennial losers before Junes and his staff took over and led them back to respectability.
“There is so much to what he is to people, what he is to programs. I’ve watched him completely rebuild two programs,” Morrison said. “It’s always fascinating to see the mechanics of how that’s done.”
The Ticats now have five coaches on the offensive side of the football, including Jones who acknowledged Tuesday that he is now the defacto offensive coordinator. Stefan Ptaszek, holds the title but his role is now largely to help mesh Jone’s offence with the Ticats’ existing terminology and the nuances of the CFL.
Jones reiterated on Tuesday that Jeremiah Masoli will remain the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, despite the loss to the Toronto Argonauts last Saturday. Masoli is a pending free agent while back up Zach Collaros has a year remaining on his monster contract but Jones says that’s not part of he equiation.
“The wins declare what happens. As long as Jeremiah keeps plugging along and doing what he’s doing and were winning, then he’ll be in there,” Jones said. “My job right now is to win as many games as I can and put out the best team out there to do that. I don’t know much about contracts and that doesn’t affect my decision.”
Morrison said his responsibilities will include teaching finer details of the Jones’ offence to the quarterbacks as well as explaining some of the history and evolution of some of the schemes. The more players understand, the thinking goes.
“The word we use is trust. When you’ve been with somebody a long time and you know that they truly believe in what you’re doing, you don’t have to worry what will be said behind closed doors,”
“You throw nine guys together as coaches, there has to an element of trust that they’re all buying in, that the same message is being presented to kids inside and outside.”
Not much controversy in that.
Notes: The team has brought in five players as part of the league’s practice roster expansion period: quarterback Dane Evans, receiver Jamal Robinson, offensive lineman John Kling, linebacker Lucas Wacha and defensive back Dante Blackmon. Players added during this period rarely play immediately but are usually brought in with an eye to next season. Evans, 23, played 46 games at Tulsa from 2012 and 2016 then went to training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles this season before being released on Sept. 1…. Jones said Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent is expected to play Friday night in Winnipeg… Jones on the news that the CFL had erred on a replay call in Saturday’s night game’s: “I get rid of the controversy when the game is over. I went through it in the NFL, you write up all these things and you’re still pissed off on Thursday. When I leave the stadium, I forget about it,” he said. “Unfortunately, because of the situation that we’re in, those things are big plays.”