Terry kOShAn

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS -

HAMIL­TON — The con­fi­dence the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats say they have in the locker room is dy­ing some­where on the way to the field.

There was zero swag­ger in the Ti­cats last night at Tim Hor­tons Field, only more fragility, as the club was crushed 39-12 by the vis­it­ing Win­nipeg Blue Bombers.

The Ti­cats are 0-7 to start the 2017 Cana­dian Foot­ball League reg­u­lar season, the faint hope that they can make the play­offs be­cause they play in the weak East Di­vi­sion tak­ing a kick squarely in the teeth.

Be­fore an an­nounced crowd of 23,517, the Bombers scored three touch­downs off Hamil­ton turnovers, in­clud­ing two in the fourth quar­ter.

Quar­ter­back Zach Col­laros, a day after stress­ing the Ti­cats had plenty of faith in them­selves, was sacked five times and in­ter­cepted once.

It’s rather ob­vi­ous that June Jones, who has been hired to turn the of­fence around, will need more time. And there’s no guar­an­tee of it hap­pen­ing fully.

“I want to be care­ful in a pub­lic fo­rum be­cause I might say some­thing and turn around to­mor­row and re­gret I said it after I watch the film, hon­estly,” Ti­cats head coach Kent Austin said, re­fer­ring to what he needs to see from Col­laros as the of­fence evolves un­der Jones.

“I have been there be­fore. (But) we need bet­ter play out of that po­si­tion. I think June can bring that, I re­ally do. We need to give him some time to con­tinue to work with that group and I think you will see the fruits of that, hope­fully soon.

“This is a team game and we need ex­e­cu­tion from ev­ery­body.”

Col­laros com­pleted 21 of 33 passes for 216 yards. He led two touch­down drives, but oth­er­wise the of­fence was in­con­sis­tent and was booed off the field at one point.

“I need to do bet­ter,” Col­laros said. “It’s tough to win in any league if the quar­ter­back is not play­ing well.

“I thought we had a good week of prac­tice and we did not carry it over to the field. For me and June, we need to con­tinue to be around each other, and like I have said all week, I will be a sponge and learn what he likes to do and go out there and ex­e­cute it. I wish I could give you a bet­ter an­swer than that.”

Hamil­ton on Fri­day plays host to the Ot­tawa Red­blacks, who are al­most as bad with a 1-6-1 record, be­fore a bye in Week 10. Still, there’s no rea­son to sug­gest the Ti­cats will break the goose egg in the win col­umn when the Red­blacks visit.

Hamil­ton’s worst start to a season came in 2003, when it was 0-12 be­fore win­ning.

Justin Med­lock was good on six of eight field-goal at­tempts for Win­nipeg, his long­est com­ing from 57 yards (one yard short of his ca­reer high) dur­ing the third quar­ter.

Da­marr Ault­man scored a 29-yard touch­down for the Ti­cats in the third quar­ter, mostly be­cause of bad tack­ing by the Bombers. A two-point con­vert at­tempt failed. In the se­cond, backup quar­ter­back Jeremiah Ma­soli plunged in from one yard for the other ma­jor.

Win­nipeg was ahead 19-6 at the half, build­ing a lead on four Med­lock field goals and a six-yard touch­down pass by Ju­lian Fe­oli-Gudino from quar­ter­back Matt Ni­chols.

In the se­cond half, the Bombers, who im­proved to 5-2, buried the Ti­cats, outscor­ing them 17-0 in the fourth quar­ter.

“We have to put it all to­gether,” Hamil­ton line­backer Si­moni Lawrence said.

“We have to play great on all three phases, we have to play com­ple­men­tary foot­ball, the of­fence, the de­fence, the spe­cial teams.

“We are a very good team and we just have to go out there and show our record says we are 0-7, we are still in it.

“We can be soft and just fold, or we can put our pants on and come to work ev­ery morn­ing and fig­ure a way to get out of this hole.” @koshtoron­to­sun

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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