Ticats’ Tim White sees potential for increased production under ‘direct’ new head coach Scott Milanovich

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

All-star receiver Tim White is back with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after a contentious free agency period and the draw of the team’s new head coach was a big part of the reason why.

The Ticats re-shuffled their staff earlier this offseason, bumping former head coach Orlondo Steinauer upstairs to president and appointing Scott Milanovich as the man in charge of the sidelines. The former Grey Cup winner, NFL assistant, and noted quarterback guru will bring a different style to a team that had laboured on the playoff bubble the past two years.

“I feel like the biggest thing he brings overall is just his ability to be direct, allowing us to head in one direction as a team, as an offence,” White told Ticats Today host Brayden Neville. “I feel like it’s going to be pretty clear-cut what the standard is and how we need to execute that plan. I feel like Scott is the best piece that you can have for a team, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Milanovich last served as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 2016, posting a 43-47 record over five seasons. He attempted a return in 2020 with the Edmonton Elks but left that club after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a cancelled season, interrupting stints as a quarterbacks coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

The 51-year-old joined the Ticats as a senior offensive assistant in 2023, originally working from home after training camp. He was promoted to offensive coordinator after Tommy Condell was fired by the team in Week 10.

While the Ticats remained relatively stable at the back of the playoff pack, the move paid off dramatically for White. Through eight games under Condell, the 29-year-old was targeted 51 times and logged 25 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns. In nine games after Milanovich assumed play-calling duties, he hauled in 50 of the 73 passes thrown his direction for 866 yards and six majors.

“I feel like it was just opportunity,” White explained. “Obviously once we got Scott in the building, my target share went up and I feel like I was able to improve in those categories. I think the biggest thing was just opportunities and then just being able to execute at a high level, so it gives your team the best chance to win.”

The massive uptick in production led White to his second consecutive CFL all-star selection and third straight East Division nod. That led the five-foot-10, 185-pound receiver to drive a hard bargain on the open market, before ultimately returning to Steeltown.

Even with 225 receptions for 3,308 yards and 18 touchdowns through the first three seasons of his career, White believes that his production can continue to climb under Milanovich’s guidance.

“The first thing is winning, that’s the number one thing, and going further in the playoffs and getting to a Grey Cup,” he said. “But yeah, those numbers, if it impacts the win sheet, I feel like they can improve and I definitely feel like I could be a lot more dominant.”

The Ticats open the 2024 regular season by visiting the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Friday, June 7.