HAMILTON — 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.
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 over the past three successive wins, but now it’s catching on among the fan base and Lawrence couldn’t be happier.
The timing of Calgary’s 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 either.
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%. That’s better odds than the 61.14% league-leading Calgary has.
The Stamps, though, still own the best odds to win the Grey Cup game at 41.14% compared to Hamilton who are given a 28.25% chance of winning he championship trophy.
Adrian Tracy, the Ticats’ returning defensive end, had heard the projections but correctly points out those are just based on numbers and projections. The Ticats still have to go out and get it done on the field.
But ask Tracy or Lawrence or any of the Ticats if they believe its possible and the unanimous answer is a resounding yes.
Both sides of the football — offence and defence — share this abundance of confidence right now.
The defence under Jerry Glanville has probably been the more consistent of the two groups to date 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 ground, 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, QB Jeremiah Masoli has this team torching defences on a weekly basis. His pinpoint passing — that accuracy particularly impressive when he’s on the run — makes the game look easy for this team.
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 that the Ticats have.
It’s what is making Saturday’s game such a must- watch for anyone with an inkling of CFL love in their blood.
Right now, the league projects the most likely Grey Cup matchup is a Calgary-Hamilton tilt. The number crunchers have that a 47.21% likelihood.
But the players in either room didn’t need numbers to tell them that.
Everyone playing in Saturday’s game knows that very well could be a prelim for the main event on Nov. 24 in Edmonton.
Yes, it’s just another game, one of seven remaining on their respective schedules, but even if they don’t want to admit it, this one means a little more than those others.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies