Ticats’ quarterback Dane Evans: ‘I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to play’

Photo courtesy: Ticats.ca/Nik Kowalski

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans wants to be on the field instead of holding the clipboard.

Evans saw his fist action of the 2021 CFL season in Week 2 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was between the white lines at Mosaic Stadium for just over one quarter, completing 3-of-10 passes for 21 yards in a 30-8 loss as the Ticats suffered a second straight loss to begin the schedule.

“You want to go in and win the game, that’s the storybook ending, but I wanted to come in and be productive, I wanted to come in and give our team a chance to try to comeback. We were down by 20-something when I came in, I know we don’t have a 20-point play — nobody does,” Evans said.

“I was trying to get us some points on a drive, be productive, get the ball rolling. I was just so frustrated, not with the guys, just more so with myself. I haven’t gotten any reps in practice the last couple weeks. I was more frustrated with myself, it wasn’t frustration with the guys, they’re busting their ass.”

Offensive coordinator Tommy Condell told starter Jeremiah Masoli through the headset that he was going to stay on the bench late in the third quarter and Evans was going in. That means it was actually Masoli who told Evans he was entering the ball game,

“I was ready to go in, I was prepared. I took the headset, Tommy said what he needed to say to me, what we were going to try to do game-plan wise and then I was on the field. It wasn’t like any magical scene, it was just routine. That’s how it went down,” Evans said.

The 27-year-old Sanger, TX native completed 72 percent of his passes for 3,754 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during 12 regular season starts in 2019. He went 10-2 as a starter and beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in July in relief of an injured Masoli.

“It’s weird, man. I’m his No. 1 fan and I still am his No. 1 fan. He’s a great football player, he might be one of the best quarterbacks in this league. We would be sitting here for days if I tried to explain how much he’s taught me about playing quarterback,” Evans said.

“For me, the respect for him is at an all-time high, especially right now because anybody can do anything when everything is going right. When the ball is rolling it’s easy to be the stand up guy. But to me, I can’t even explain how much I respect and appreciate Jeremiah for his help.”

Hamilton had a bye in Week 3 following their 0-2 start and travel to Montreal for a match-up with the Alouettes on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET in Week 4. Evans wants a chance to run out with the starting offence in La Belle Province.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to play, but I want what’s best for this team. Whenever it happens, if they tell me I’m starting, great, if they tell me Jeremiah’s starting, great,” Evans said.

“I just gotta trust the coaches and the front office to determine that. I’m going to approach it the same way regardless. I can’t even begin to explain how much respect and love I have for that guy.”

Masoli beat out Evans for the No. 1 QB job in the Hammer after training camp was evaluated.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.