Ticats earning their stripes

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:46 PM ET

HAMILTON — When they weren’t contenders, the Calgary Stampeders could barely contend with them.

So now that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have legitimate Grey Cup aspirations, shouldn’t the Stamps be worried?

In the 2000s, the Ticats had a measly 41 home victories, but seven of those came against the Stampeders.

Even when the Cats were getting three or five wins a season, they could count on playing well against the Stamps — at least at home.

“I’m not sure if it was the Hamilton teams or coming to Hamilton,” said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris, who leads his team against the Ticats Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium (11 a.m., TSN).

“Whatever the case, we have to rewrite the record books, starting right now.

“They will be coming out in revenge mode. They are coming off an embarrassing loss. It wasn’t according to their script of how they wanted to get started. We have to play with some intensity and build off last week.”

A funny thing happened for the Ticats on the way to respectability. In the season-opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Ticats had nothing going offensively and the hyped all-Canadian offensive line allowed seven sacks.

The most glaring weakness was right tackle Simeon Rottier, who was the first overall draft pick in 2009 and made his first start at the position.

Ticats QB Kevin Glenn was dropped three times by the Bombers’ Phillip Hunt, as Rottier couldn’t slow the defensive end down.

“We don’t signal any group out,” Glenn said. “(Saturday) is an important game for the offence. When you get to talking about different positions, you leave it up to that person.

“If that person wasn’t serious about the game, he wouldn’t be playing. You can tell the attitude this week. You see guys trying to get better because of what happened last week.”

Both offences should get a boost from off-season acquisitions making their season debuts.

Stamps receiver P.K. Sam, who was brought over from the Toronto Argonauts in the trade for Jeremaine Copeland, makes his first start at slotback for the Stamps.

Former Edmonton Eskimos receiver Maurice Mann will start at wide receiver for the Ticats and should provide Glenn a weapon downfield.

The question is whether Glenn will have time.

The Stampeders defence pressured Argonauts newcomer Cleo Lemon in the season-opener, recording three sacks. Even when a sack wasn’t made, the pressure had an effect on Lemon.

Stamps rookie safety Eric Fraser had Lemon dead in his sights but missed the elusive pivot. The pass Lemon then attempted was intercepted by Keon Raymond anyway.

The veteran Glenn probably isn’t as agile as Lemon.

“He turned and saw me at the last minute,” Fraser said.

“I was a bit out of control.

I had my first sack all lined up. He was looking the other way, so I thought I would get a clean shot at him. He stepped up, and I lost my footing a little bit. I dived to make the tackle, but

I couldn’t.

“Hopefully, next time I get it.”

The Ticats may have started believing their hype before the season began.

After Marcus Thigpen took back the opening kickoff against the Bombers, the Tabbies suddenly looked like a below-average bunch.

Maybe this was a team that believed it had already achieved something by being talked about positively.

But one loss isn’t changing the expectations the Ticats have that they will compete for a title this CFL season.

“Anything I do when

I compete, my expectations are super high,” said Ticats receiver Arland Bruce. “I’ve been on (the 2001 Bombers) team where we were 14-4 and didn’t win the championship.

“We are still on pace to where we’re headed. It’s tough to lose at any time … but all we can do is correct it.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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