What Ti­cats will line up at re­ceiver?

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MILTON

Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon should tell us some­thing about Satur­day night.

Such as, who will re­place Ter­ence To­liver at wide re­ceiver in Regina when the Hamil­ton Ti­cats visit the only other point­less — as in ‘in the stand­ings’, not as in ‘with­out pur­pose’ — team in the Cana­dian Foot­ball League?

To­liver was hurt early in the sea­son-open­ing loss to Toronto and is gone for the fore­see­able fu­ture, leav­ing the Ti­cats with ex­actly none of the two men who sur­passed 1,000 yards in re­ceiv­ing last year. Andy Fan­tuz, out with in­jury un­til at least the sec­ond half of the sea­son, also had 1,000 yards.

Luke Tasker would have made it eas­ily but was hurt two-thirds of the way through, and missed the fi­nal six games.

Read­ing the above might make the can­di­dates to re­place To­liver a lit­tle un­easy about their health prospects, but there is no shortage of ap­pli­cants. It won’t be a straight-up re­place­ment for the bound­ary wide re­ceiver, any­way, as the Cats move re­ceivers around lib­er­ally to take ad­van­tage of matchups and field po­si­tion.

Speedy Banks took over from To­liver in Game One, but Kent Austin prefers to pro­tect his re­turn-game en­ergy, so if Banks is the one, he’ll likely have fre­quent backup help from the likes of third-year Ti­cat Ju­nior Collins or new­com­ers Da­marr Ault­man or Jalen Saun­ders, who also have kick re­turn­ing on their re­sumes.

“I can do a lot of dif­fer­ent things on the field,” says Saun­ders, who was a quar­ter­back in high school and a star re­ceiver/re­turner at Ok­la­homa but, bounc­ing around the NFL, hasn’t played a real game in two years.

“I can play re­ceiver, I can line up in the back­field, I can run back kicks for you, might even throw some balls for you.

“I’m just happy to get back on the field, al­though noth­ing’s set in stone.”

Banks will al­most cer­tainly take some snaps at re­ceiver — that’s been the plan since train­ing camp — and maybe many snaps, but at least one of the other three is likely to see ac­tion.

Collins is more fa­mil­iar with the of­fence, but the other two are faster and it’s clear Hamil­ton needs to stretch the field more con­sis­tently.

Austin said Tues­day that the staff will have a bet­ter idea of what the re­ceiv­ing corps will look like af­ter Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice when, un­like Tues­day, the team will be wear­ing shoul­der pads.

“There’s more con­tact, you can be more phys­i­cal when you’re in pads,” he ex­plained. “Some­times that can fer­ret out some things dif­fer­ently than when you don’t have pads on.” NOTES: The Tiger-Cats signed de­fen­sive back Khalid Wooten to the prac­tice ros­ter. He was ob­tained in a May 1 trade from Mon­treal but re­leased late in train­ing camp.

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