Hint of QB controversy surfaces in Steeltown

Ticats' back-up quarterback Quinton Porter hands off to Terry Grant during a pre-season game...

Ticats' back-up quarterback Quinton Porter hands off to Terry Grant during a pre-season game against the Argos. (REUTERS)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

HAMILTON — Quinton Porter might be the last guy to start a quarterback controversy, even one that would benefit his own career.

 

In his fourth year in the CFL and firmly entrenched behind Kevin Glenn on the QB depth chart in Hamilton, Porter has a very realistic view of his role and standing with the Tiger-Cats.

“It’s what is best for the team. It really is,” Porter said of his 100% support of Glenn, the one man who stands in the way of his opportunity.

“It wouldn’t be good for the team for me to (start making demands),” Porter said following an upbeat practice at Ivor Wynne on Wednesday.

“Especially with the position we are in now. If this team needs anything from Quinton Porter right now it’s support and I’m willing to get in there and run sneaks for you guys but I’ll also run a bootleg if you want me to. Whatever they want me to be.

“I know my ability. I know my skill set and I’m just waiting to utilize it at this point.”

The “position” Porter speaks of is an 0-2 start that has been blamed primarily on a pop-gun offence when just about every prognosticator in and around the league was expecting the Hamilton offence to blow the doors down.

Outside the confines of the Hamilton locker room there have been plenty of calls for a quarterback change. None however are coming from inside with the exception of one suggestion, which wasn’t necessarily calling for a change in starters as much as a change in the distribution of the quarterback minutes. That one though came from on high, from GM Bob O’Billovich earlier this week.

“The only thing is, seeing how well Quinton played in training camp, I think that at some point in time we have to get him a chance to play. Especially since we might need him. If we’re not moving the football, you’re going to have to make those decisions,” O’Billovich told the Hamilton Spectator’s Steve Milton.

Porter obviously saw the mention and welcomed it but did not see it as taking away substantially from anything that Glenn already has.

“From a team perspective I think that would be a good idea. Why not?” Porter asked. “I bring little different things to the table than Kev. Kevin is going to lead this team, there is no doubt about that. But if I can do anything to come in and make that job easier, then I’m willing to do it. Anything that could catch the defence off guard. Maybe take a series from him.”

Despite all the unsolicited advice from the outside, and that little bit from above his station, head coach Marcel Bellefeuille doesn’t see any change in the quarterbacking duties happening this weekend as the 0-2 Tabbies host the 0-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Quentin did have a great training camp,’ Bellefeuille said. “So did Kevin and so did Jason Boltus. All three quarterbacks had great training camps and we hope throughout the season, at the appropriate time and when there is an opportunity, we can get all three quarterbacks playing time.”

But two games in, even two losses, isn’t that time in Bellefeuille’s opinion.

“No I don’t think it’s now,” Bellefeuille said. “It’s a long season. (Quinton) is not unlike Drew Tate in Calgary where they find him playing time whether it’s situational or whether it becomes a situation at end of games and we inject him into the lineup at times. We will look at all those opportunities for him. He has definitely turned a corner in terms of where he has been the last few years with us.”

But for now it appears it will be Glenn for the bulk of the game and little doses of Porter on those third and one’s.

As for the GM and the head coach Bellefeuille didn’t appear to even see the hint of a rift.

“One hundred percent,” he said when asked if he and O’Billovich were on the same page. “We speak every day about it.”

Glenn, who has heard the talk and seen the newspapers suggesting a change might be in the cards if not now then soon, says he’s not feeling added pressure going into this week.

“The only pressure you have is the pressure you put on yourself,” Glenn said. “When you go out as a professional athlete for this long and you know you can do it, that’s all you need. You need the confidence in yourself and from your teammates and I think I have that. As far as anything else goes, it’s kind of smoke and mirrors.”

Smoke and mirrors, perhaps, but the longer it takes that Hamilton offence to start producing like everyone around the team believes it should, the harder Bellefeuille and company are going to begin looking at altering the workload or perhaps even the identity of the man under centre.

TICATS NEED TO LOOSEN UP

Marcel Bellefeuille couldn’t have scripted it any better.

With about a half hour to go in practice Wednesday and with his starting defence getting in their reps, Bo Smith jumped on a pass route that appeared headed for a completion and practically took it out of the receiver’s hands.

Immediately the hooting started and less than a second later receiver Maurice Mann, who was on the sidelines with the rest of Hamilton’s starting offence, high-stepped his way onto the field to congratulate the DB on the head-turning play.

Bellefeuille even held up the next play to suggest to his players that they show a little bit more of that on Saturday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders pay a visit.

Bellefeuille made it clear afterwards he wasn’t necessarily as impressed with the interception (although it was impressive) as he was with the reaction from his players who simply ate it up.

“We talked and it’s important for our players to have fun and start playing looser,” Bellefeuille said. “They have been working their tails off and it’s to the point now where I want them to play fast and loose.

“Work ethic 100%,” he said. “Guys are flying around and playing hard but we have to be a little looser. Not be worried about making mistakes and playing faster. Those are the types of things we have been talking about. When you play tentative you’re a step too late. I want them to play without that concern.”

Young gave him that and more in that one play.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca

 


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