HAMMER CATCHES TICATS FEVER
It’s been a while since Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence has seen the city of Hamilton this jazzed about its Tiger-Cats.
Lawrence was a key part of those 2013 and 2014 Ticats teams that went to the Grey Cup. He knows what a competitive team can do to this town and how important a winning team is to the local fan base.
But he had almost forgotten what that felt like until he decided to go for a little stroll among the people downtown earlier this week.
“It’s ridiculous in Hamilton right now,” Lawrence said. “I just went for a little walk in Hamilton Thursday and I forgot that I was in Hamilton and I got mobbed. I was like ‘Damn, I forgot how cool I was.’”
Within the locker-room, that belief has been growing since Day 1 and has solidified rapidly during three successive wins. Now it’s catching on among the fan base and Lawrence couldn’t be happier.
The timing of the Calgary Stampeders’ visit couldn’t come at a better time for this team, whose confidence is at a season high.
“We always take Calgary down to the wire and always get disappointed,” Lawrence said. “This year there is a quiet confidence in the group and we are ready for it.”
Lawrence isn’t the only one that believes that.
The league this week released its annual numerical breakdown on the odds of teams getting to and winning a Grey Cup.
The Tiger-Cats’ odds going into Week 14 of making it to the Grey Cup game are a league-high 77.54 per cent. That’s better odds than the 61.14 per cent league-leading Calgary has.
The Stamps, though, still own the best odds to win the Grey Cup game at 41.14 per cent compared to Hamilton, which is given a 28.25 per cent chance.
Ticats defensive end Adrian Tracy heard about the odds, but correctly points out those are just based on numbers and projections. The Ticats still have to go out and get it done.
But ask Tracy or Lawrence or any of the Ticats if they believe it’s possible and the unanimous answer is a resounding yes.
Both sides of the football — offence and defence — share this confidence. The defence under Jerry Glanville has probably been the more consistent of the two groups, but the offence appears to have caught up.
Lawrence loves the attitude of the Hamilton defence.
“We just run to the ball and hit everything that moves,” he said. “We put a lot of fear in people, which you can see just watching tape. Watching guys drop to the ground or look around because they know if they’re not on the group they are going to have 12 people hitting you no matter what. If he’s not touching the ground we are going to come and get some flesh.”
On offence, Jeremiah Masoli has this team torching defences. His pinpoint passing — that accuracy particularly impressive when he’s on the move — makes the game look easy.
They’ve lost three starting receivers in Shawmad Chambers, Chris Williams, and most recently Jalen Saunders and they are still racking up yardage like few other teams in the league.
Only the Stampeders can boast the same feared double-pronged attack the Ticats have.
It’s what makes Saturday’s game such a must-watch for anyone with CFL love in their blood.