Ticat patient in face of adversity

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

HAMILTON -- At a time when impatience was running rampant, Ticat running back DeAndra' Cobb remained patient.

Theories were abound as to why Cobb wasn't that dominant back, that game-changing player when he'd get a touch in the backfield and make tacklers miss when he broke into the CFL last season.

Some argued Cobb had lost a step, while others questioned his hesitancy to hit holes.

For most of this early season, Cobb couldn't help but hear the talk because the topic became a weekly theme, a source of concern with no real explanation.

In the wake of back-to-back solid performances, including a season-high total in a rival game where he'd produce the winning touchdown, talk of Cobb has quietly faded to the background.

"As a back, it's not always going to go your way,'' Cobb said Thursday after the Ticats huddled for the first time following their 16-12 win over the Argos two weeks ago.

"If you look at last year, there were games where I didn't even get more than 50 yards."

What fans remember of Cobb's rookie year was a dynamic back who would generate 1,217 yards, featuring six games where he'd bust loose for a gain exceeding 20 yards.

In seven games, Cobb was held to fewer than 60 yards, which is pretty much what was unfolding for the better part of this season.

Along came a 22-carry performance against Winnipeg and a season-best 99 yards against the Argos when Cobb had 20 attempts out of the backfield.

"Over the years I've developed patience given the adversity I've had to face,'' Cobb continued.

"The key is to stay positive knowing that it'll come."

Three-down football isn't exactly conducive to running the ball, but an effective ground gain keeps defences honest and limits an opponent on how it wants to attack an offence.

A big reason why the Ticats were able to beat the Argos was their ability to limit second-and-long situations.

There were penalties committed by the Argos and one costly turnover that led to Cobb's six-yard run that essentially iced the game, but Hamilton did a better job on first down, thus avoiding a predictable pass play on second down.

More than anything, the Ticats were very balanced in their play selection on first down, rushing seven times and attempting a pass seven other times on their 14 possessions.

Hamilton began by taking a shot down field in double coverage to Arland Bruce III, an under-thrown heave by Kevin Glenn that would have been called back after Dave Stala jumped the gun on the line of scrimmage.

"You always want to try to start fast and be the aggressor,'' added Cobb. "You want to get going right off the bat and try to make that big play."

Hamilton had possession of the pigskin longer than the Argos, slightly more than five minutes, and would manufacture the game's lone major.

Cobb wasn't so much delighted at his TD run as he was at watching the scoreboard and seeing his team had taken the lead.

"It was one of those grind-it-out games, a dog fight, which always seems to happen when playing Toronto,'' Cobb said. "Whomever scored, it was going to be an electrifying thing.

"They kept us out of the end zone and I think sometimes we get anxious, we tense up, when we get into the red zone. We just have to relax, but it was a great feeling to score because up until then we hadn't scored a touchdown."

Now comes the rematch at Labour Day and a chance for Cobb and the Ticats' run game to continue its run.

Offensively, the Ticats aren't likely to change their package.

What they have to do is execute better and not leave points on the field.

"It's time to buckle the chin straps,'' said Cobb, who returned to his off-season home in California to spend time with family during the bye.

"It is Labour Day, but you can't get caught up in the hype. If you allow yourself to get caught up, you get over-anxious and when you're over-anxious you won't do anything right."


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