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HAMILTON — They sound like a bunch of Ghostbusters.
“We ain’t afraid of no Trevor Harris.”
If they go out and just be the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they’ll be OK, they say.
Can that really be the mindset of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats going into the Eastern Final here Sunday?
“It’s a fair assessment,” said new defensive coordinator Mark Washington, replacing the departed Jerry Glanville.
“We just have to concentrate of focusing on executing our defence the way we know we can and playing the style of football we’ve sort of patterned ourselves to play.
“It’s a different team, different guys, different just about everything. The only thing that is the same is the colour of the Tiger-Cats uniform. That’s it.
“We’re comparing two different teams to two different years.”
Upon arriving in Hamilton the first order of business for the visiting sports columnist was to check out if that perception could possibly represent the majority of players who populate the dressing room of the 15-3 team that went 9-0 at home this year.
I mean, Oski wee, wee, Oski wah, wah away. But, Holy Mackinaw, could this Tiger-Cat team possibly be in denial about what happened last year with Harris in the Eastern Final against Hamilton and the game he virtually replicated Sunday in the Eastern Semifinal against the Alouettes in Montreal?
The last time Harris played Hamilton in the East Final, he threw a playoff record six touchdown passes.
And Sunday in Montreal in the East Semifinal Harris threw a playoff record 22 consecutive completions and produced 421 yards passing to get the Eskimos to this game.
But, indeed, the Tiger-Cats don’t come across as overly concerned about the former Ottawa Redblacks quarterback who beat them in all four games he played against Hamilton last year and was out with an injury in the two games Hamilton defeated Edmonton this season.
“We’re not worried about what Trevor Harris did last week or what he did to us last year, we’re just focused on ourselves,” said defensive tackle Ted Laurent, now a sixth-year Tiger-Cat who began his career as an Edmonton Eskimo.
“If that’s their motivation, that’s good. But that’s last year and this team is different. We’re not going to worry about last year because that’s in the past.
“We have a great game plan for this week and we’re just looking forward to the match-up.”
Offensive lineman Mike Filer, the longest-serving player on the team that last won the Grey Cup in 1999, said the attitude has got the Tiger-Cats this far.
“That’s been our motto all year. We focus on ourselves. We focus on our next game and our next game is against Harris and the Eskimos. You have to give it to him. He had a great game last week. But the road leads to Hamilton and our guys are fired up and ready to go. We’re feeling good, we’re focused on ourselves and doing what we do and that’s Ti-Cats football.”
Seven-year Tiger-Cat Luke Tasker offered his take.
“I have 100 per cent confidence our defence is going to be really, really detailed in our approach to this game,” he said.
Normally, head coach Orlondo Steinhauer said he wouldn’t entertain a question about the other team’s quarterback.
“As a general rule, I wouldn’t have any comment on Trevor, right? But I understand he garnered that attention. He had an outstanding game,” said the rookie head coach who is a finalist for CFL Coach of the Year honours.
“He’s done a great job since he’s been back from his injury. I thought he had a great start to the season. So we are very aware of Trevor and what he’s capable of doing.
“But while we understand what he brings to the table we are always more concerned and much more focused on what we bring to the table and how we execute.
“Last year was last year and it really has no bearing on this year’s football team and how we’ll prepare or how we’ll approach this game.”
It was difficult to find someone with a different point of view. It was a guy from the other side of the ball but receiver Speedy Banks had the words I expected to hear when I entered their dressing room.
“I think Trevor is one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen. He knows how to manage and control the ball game. It’s definitely going to be a tough test for us. What he did to us last year and what he did last week was incredible. We’ve definitely got a big task ahead.”
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