What Ticats will line up at receiver?
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.