Williams: We're 'not doing our job'Linebacker admits Ticats got complacent after big Labour Day win
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
|Tiger-Cats linebacker Renauld Williams grabs hold of Eskimos slotback Fred Stamps during their game last week. (Reuters)
HAMILTON - As panic swirled around them, the cries for change growing louder in Tiger Town, it was time for the Ticats defence to look from within.
To hear Rey Williams tell it, the session would feature more soul searching than screaming, no fingers being pointed, but a call to arms that something needed to be done.
When a team such as Hamilton is desperate to get over the hump, a barrier many felt was achieved in the wake of its Labour Day conquest over the Als, Williams now believes with the clarity of hindsight, that complacency began to surface inside the locker room.
As someone who lines up at middle linebacker, Williams recalls a team meeting his unit called earlier this week, where a renewed sense of seizing the moment was discussed.
For what it’s worth, Williams has noticed a different approach at practice as the Ticats gathered for this Sunday’s meeting against Calgary in Moncton, N.B., but the true test will arrive on game day.
“From what I’ve noticed, the mood is a little more tight, but there’s still very much positive with guys feeding off each other,’’ Williams said Thursday as the beleaguered Ticats practised for the second straight day on grass to adjust to the playing field in the Maritimes. “We have to keep this energy up from now until the end of November.”
The end for many was beginning to be speculated following back-to-back lopsided losses to Montreal on the road and to Edmonton last week at Ivor Wynne Stadium, where fans began to show their mounting frustration by booing the home side.
“What we all decided was it (losing) has nothing to do with what the coaches are doing,’’ added Williams. “As players, we’re not doing our job. We’ve got to be more disciplined.
“Maybe we did get complacent, but that sense of urgency is back because I can feel it. When we met as a defence, (we said) it’s not on the coaches. It’s on the guys in this locker room and we got to make plays. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.”
When a team gets outscored by a combined margin of 81-36, forces zero turnovers and gets flagged 27 times for a total of 249 yards, virtually every area needs to be placed under the microscope.
In the big picture, no team is perfect and the natural ebb and flow of an 18-game schedule will have its share of adversity, times when it appears nothing is going right.
But the Ticats now tread a fine line, no longer assured of the post-season with the potential of a cross-over now realistic if the team doesn’t get its act together.
After facing two pocket quarterbacks in Anthony Calvillo and Ricky Ray, the Ticats must now contend with Henry Burris and the Steven Jyles, two guys who can make plays with their feet.
“It’s on the players and we’ve got to play better football,” added Williams, who ranks fourth in the CFL with 60 tackles, including 10 in last Friday’s loss to the Eskimos.
“You hate to lose two games and start saying you need to play harder because you feel you play hard every game,’’ he continued. “It should be enough, but obviously it hasn’t been enough.
“No one is going to give us anything and you can’t take anything for granted.”
At the same time, if their fortunes aren’t reversed, the losses the Ticats may experience could have some far-reaching implications.
“There are seven games left and we’ve got to pick this thing up,’’ said Williams.
Against the Stamps, it won’t be easy.
Calgary is unbeaten in five road games this season.