Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer usually keeps his leadership philosophies a closely guarded secret.
However, he did share a glimpse of his messaging to players in regards to Jumal Rolle starting in the spot manned by Delvin Breaux for four seasons in Hamilton.
“We tend to not phrase it as taking over for Delvin Breaux because there’s one generational player like him at corner in my opinion. There’s only a few of him that have really come through the league since I’ve been a part of it,” Steinauer said.
“We just don’t talk about replacing other people. We just want them to bring what they bring.”
Rolle spent two years as Breaux’s teammate with the Ticats starting on the opposite side of the field. The former NFL cornerback lined up on the field or wide side and Breaux was on the boundary or short side. The two-time CFL all-star officially returned retired prior to the 2021 season in March.
“Replacing Breaux has been an honour for real. I’m just enjoying the spot right now. I’ve definitely watched him. He showed me an example of how to play the position,” Rolle said.
“It’s been next man up mentality. Just preparing regardless of where I’m at, where I’m located, I just try to lock in and execute and be prepared to play all positions.”
The six-foot, 190-pound cover man has made an impact ever since arriving in Steeltown. Since 2018 he’s played 42 games while making 89 tackles and snatching eight interceptions, the latest pick was returned for his first career touchdown in the three-down league. It was an 87-yard runback after breaking on a Dominique Davis pass in Ottawa.
“The timing of it really was something that our football team needed. It squashed momentum for them and you felt the air go out. The timing of it is what I’m most proud of. Pick-sixes we’ll take them anytime, but it was a timely one,” Steinauer said.
In the third quarter of the Tabbies Week 8 win against the Redblacks, Davis was trying to connect with R.J. Harris on a hitch route near the sideline. Rolle saw the veteran quarterback lock into his target and then burst downhill to intercept the ball, returning it to the end zone.
“I was telling Rolley when he got that pick I was running down the sidelines with him, I was trying to meet him in the end zone. It’s amazing to see the defence ball out like that,” David Watford said.
“It boosts the moral of the team when they get turnovers. Seeing Rolley score everybody is hype and it gets everybody flowing.”
That pick-six helped the Ticats put away the Redblacks 24-7 and complete a gruelling stretch of four games in 17 days with a 3-1 record. Hamilton sits first place in the East Division at 4-3 halfway through the pandemic-shortened 14-game regular season.