Jekyll-Hyde experience for Ticats
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn says when he didn't play for Hamilton, he enjoyed the wit of the fans in Ivor Wynne's stands. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)
HAMILTON - Home and away is like night and day for the 2011 Hamilton Tiger-cats.
So far, they have Jekyll and Hyded their way to a .500 record by putting together the league’s greatest home-away differential.
Sharing a 4-1 home record with the Montreal Alouettes for tops in the CFL, the Tabbies’ 1-4 effort outside of the Ivor Wynne Stadium is only slightly better than the Toronto Argonauts’ 1-5 road trend.
But growing pains are to be expected, said Ticats receiver Maurice Mann.
“We’ve got a young team,” he said. “A lot of the guys out there, man, are pretty young.
“Playing on the road is a difficulty in Canada because it’s such a big crowd environment. It’s such a momentum-type game and not having fans in other stadiums affects the game flow, which is crazy to me personally but that’s just how it works.”
Their challenges aren’t going to get fixed over night. But then again, they don’t have to for this week’s game.
“We’ve just got to snap it on when we play away, but we get to play at home (Friday), so we’re excited about that,” Mann said. “We play well at home.”
There is just something about Ivor Wynne.
“When I didn’t play for Hamilton, when I was on the opposing team, I used to love coming to Hamilton to play, and it was all because of the fans and the witty stuff that they’d come up with in the stands,” said Kevin Glenn. “I think it’s become a place where they’ve probably become more wittier in the stands and giving the opposing team a hard time.
“So I enjoy playing at home in front of the fans and it’s great because you’ve got that momentum and that 13th man.”
As for the road, Glenn said those games are already in his rearview mirror.
“Other teams have been the same, so it must be a Jekyll and Hyde league,” he said. “Because I don’t think one team has won every game and every team has had a bad game.”
Just not so many on the road.
“We injected a lot of youth into our lineup when we started six rookies and another two or three second-year guys,” said Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille. “That’s a normal process.
“Last year, we were 4-5 on the road, close to a .500 team. So I believe we’ll play good on the road. It’s just one of those situations where for those guys it’s still a learning process and a growth process.”