QB Bo Levi Mitchell revels in first preseason game with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the club’s hometown fans than their 27-22 preseason victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

“It was awesome just walking through the fans, clapping them up, just hearing everybody’s excitement for the game,” Mitchell told the media in Hamilton.

“I think you already know everybody’s going to be excited but to see some young faces, old faces, and everything — just being ready for the start of the game is exciting. Especially for a preseason game, to have this kind of turnout just shows exactly what Hamilton is and what this team means to the city.”

Mitchell completed three-of-six pass attempts for 63 yards and one touchdown in a little under one quarter of work in the contest. The touchdown pass went for 32 yards to former Calgary Stampeders’ teammate Richie Sindani.

“What I saw was the ability to hit a touchdown and it was good to get one to [Sindani],” said Mitchell. “Obviously with both of us coming from Calgary, I think it was fun for us to just dap each other up and look each other in the eyes after that moment. It was fun.”

Sindani, who also caught a 49-pass from rookie quarterback Taylor Powell in the third quarter, played four seasons for the Stampeders before departing for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL. He was released by the team last month and joined the Ticats a few weeks later, helping add depth to a receiving corps that could start as many as two Canadians this season.

“It was one heck of a pass by Bo, I’m not gonna lie. It fit right over the top of the [weak-side] linebacker, so it was really cool to run in there and get that first touchdown for him and put the team in front,” said Sindani.

“Bo speaks good language with me as far as terms that we had in Calgary. He knows how to communicate with me out here as well as the coaches and whatnot, so it feels like it’s a familiar setting in a way. [Backup quarterbacks Matthew] Shiltz and [Powell] have been a part of that, too. It’s been really nice.”

Sindani wasn’t the only former Stampeder on the field as Folarin Orimolade, the league’s new highest-paid defensive end, made his debut with the Argos. Mitchell teased his former teammate, saying he “gave [Orimolade] some crap” after the defender struggled to tackle James Butler on an 11-yard carry up the middle.

Mitchell already knows Hamilton’s playbook but there are small intricacies he feels he won’t master until the first six of seven games of the season are complete. He believes the offensive scheme is currently in a good spot helping players get comfortable with the option of building new layers on top of it as the season progresses.

“At the moment, it’s pretty basic. We’re making sure guys are smart, guys feel good about what they’re doing, knowing where their hot [routes] are, knowing their adjustments against every coverage we could possibly see and that’s big. To me, that’s building staples and building plays where guys feel very confident in what they’re doing,” said Mitchell.

“We’ll keep building on it, keep ramping up. Everything’s always gonna be different game plan-wise for different teams. You’re not gonna run the same plays against the same team and just hope that it’s open, so we’ll make adjustments and we’ll move guys around more.”

The Ticats will go on the road to close their preseason on Friday, June 2 when they take on the Montreal Alouettes.