Ticats need to plug defensive leaks

Montreal Alouettes' quarterback Anthony Calvillo is face-masked by Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive...

Montreal Alouettes' quarterback Anthony Calvillo is face-masked by Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Justin Hickman (95) during the first half of their CFL Eastern semifinal football game in Montreal, on Nov. 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Olivier Jean)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

The way Corey Chamblin sees it, a good chunk of his work has already been done for him courtesy of the Montreal Alouettes.

Chamblain’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats defence, which was so steady in the first half of last Sunday’s eastern semifinal sprung a few leaks in the second. He knows it, the fans know, but more importantly his defence knows it and Chamblin considers that the silver lining from a bit of a tough afternoon for his unit.

“The good thing about it is we won that game,” Chamblin said. “Our job is only to make sure they score one less point than our offence. I’m not worried about the score. We got the win.

“Now me as a coach, if we had come out of that game (in Montreal) with a 41-9 win, it would have been harder to coach the defensive players this week. They would have thought they were God’s gift to defence. But you got a win and the thing about it from the coaching part of it is, at least now we have something to continue to work on. “That’s the focus for the defence. Let’s fix those things that need to get fixed. A good team like Montreal did find some of the cracks we had in our schemes but at the same point we found their’s. We have to make sure we fix what we need to fix for this final.”

Chamblin is not at all discouraged by the 500-plus passing yards his defence gave up or the big second half Anthony Calvillo and the Als offence enjoyed.

“No one has their head down,” Chamblin said. “From a defensive coordinator standpoint I’m not at all worried. You saw what we were capable of doing in that first half. We were playing the CFL’s greatest all-time passer. Not only that you have Marc Trestman and he has done it against the best coordinators in the NFL for a long time and to beat his team defensively, I think I’ll take that notch on my belt.”

Chamblin goes from preparing for one of the best offence’s to one of the most unpredictable.

Whether it’s Buck Pierce under centre (which is now likely to be the case) or his backup, Alex Brink, Chamblin figures his defence’s biggest worry will be when plays break down and the Winnipeg quarterback becomes a running back.

“We just have to make sure we limit their explosions,” Chamblin said.

Chamblin couldn’t say for sure that injured non-import safety Ryan Hinds will be back — he’ll have a better idea Wednesday at practice — but if everything goes according to plan, Hinds will make his return allowing Stevie Baggs, who was a ratio-victim in Montreal, to return to his spot on the defensive line.

His secondary should also catch a bit of a break in that no team, and this is no insult to Winnipeg’s solid group of receivers — can match the depth and physicality of the Montreal receivers the Ticats just sent on vacation.

“It’s a different corps,” Chamblin said of the Winnipeg receivers. “This corps we just played was a big physical group. They were big and able to body you out when that ball comes down. (Winnipeg’s) Greg Carr is a big physical guy, but the other guys are speed guys. You are facing a different crew. My guys can run too and they probably match up better height-wise with this crew with the exception of Carr.”

Chamblin considers that an advantage for his Ticats but if he could have one request granted it would be for a wet, slippery track Sunday at Canad Inns Stadium.

“I’m a secondary coach first,’ Chamblin said. “It can snow and rain and I would be the happiest person in the world because that would mean the ball is on the ground. We have a good ground game so the more the ball is out of the air, the better. It’s how I have always looked at football. If you can turn it into a ground game, please do.”

Right now the weather forecast calls for a cold but dry afternoon so it doesn’t appear Chamblin will get his wish. But that’s OK. Like this past Sunday, he doesn’t need everything going his way. He’ll settle for a good final result.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca

 


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