Gi­rard ‘ready’ for Ti­cats of­fen­sive line, team­mates say

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS ded­wards@thes­ 905-526-2481 | @scratch­ing­post

Lost in the mir­a­cle of Satur­day’s come­back was the play by the Ti­cats of­fen­sive line, which al­lowed ex­actly zero sacks while uti­liz­ing a cen­tre mak­ing his first ca­reer CFL start.

Sec­ond-year man Mathieu Gi­rard had a cou­ple of way­ward snaps but was oth­er­wise solid against one of the league’s bet­ter front fours, in­clud­ing all-star de­fen­sive tackle Al­mondo Sewell.

Vet­eran of­fen­sive tackle Brian Sim­mons said Gi­rard — his team­mates call him “Chewy”— has put the work in as the un­der­study to Mike Filer, who was in­jured in a July 15 win over the Mon­treal Alou­ettes

“I see more of Chewy than most peo­ple do and I’m not just say­ing this be­cause of the out­come of the game, but I truly wasn’t wor­ried at all,” Sim­mons said. “Phys­i­cally, we knew he’d be OK but with cen­tres, it’s all about the men­tal part of the game. We had two days off last week but he was in there ev­ery day get­ting pre­pared. He was ready.”

The line gave quar­ter­back Jeremiah Ma­soli time in the pocket through­out the sec­ond half as he com­pleted a CFL-record 23 straight passes while bring­ing the Ti­cats back from a 31-6 third-quar­ter deficit. It was the largest come­back in team his­tory.

“The of­fen­sive line is a rhythm, a chem­istry,” Sim­mons said. “We knew we had to make Gi­rard feel com­fort­able by do­ing our work. I’m proud of ev­ery­body.”

Gi­rard may have to keep up the good work for a while. The Ti­cats have placed Filer on the six-game in­jured list and ex­pect he could miss at least sev­eral weeks with a high an­kle sprain.

The sched­ule helps a lit­tle: they are on a bye un­til an Aug. 3 date in Win­nipeg, then don’t play again for 10 more days.

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