Evans to start for Ticats and other Grey Cup tidbits

Hamiton Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer decided not to wait to share who his starting quarterback will be come Sunday, deciding to give the ball to Dane Evans in favour of Jeremiah Masoli. It was the obvious choice after Evans replaced Masoli early in the second quarter of the East final, finishing the game a perfect 16-for-16 passing for 249 yards, one passing touchdown and two rushing scores.

The Blue Bombers have left one player behind in Winnipeg, backup offensive lineman Tui Eli, because he’s unvaccinated for COVID-19. Winnipeg has been boasting a 99 per cent vaccinated rate, and with federal government safety rules preventing anyone unvaccinated from flying, Eli was exposed as the lone player without the jab(s). Meanwhile, the Tiger-Cats have a 90 per cent vaccinated rate — about six players — but because they’re hosting and don’t have to travel, Hamilton will have its whole team available.

We’ve heard a lot about the impact running back Andrew Harris has had on the Bombers, but never before have we heard it quite like we did Wednesday from safety Brandon Alexander. Alexander admitted he was nervous heading into last Sunday’s West final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders; that is, until he watched as Harris ran out of the tunnel waving a Bombers flag. “I felt the crowd roar when they saw Andrew Harris out there. I felt that. That was just different right there.”

After rushing 23 times for 136 yards and one touchdown last week, in what was Harris’s first game in seven weeks, he said he felt a bit banged up the next day. He looked good in practice on Wednesday at McMaster University and is expected to start Sunday against Hamilton.

Let the paranoia games begin. The Bombers were given the chance to practice at Tim Hortons Field this week but have opted to take their workouts to McMaster University instead. The word is Winnipeg doesn’t trust Hamilton to not try and gain information one way or another and you only have to hear some of the stories from the past to know it’s the right decision.Dane Evans had the quote of the day when asked when he was able to process what happened in the 2019 Grey Cup — a game in which the Bombers sacked him six times. “I didn’t watch the tape for like a while, probably like a month. And then it seemed like when the world shut down, that’s all freaking TSN wanted to play was the Grey Cup. And I was like ‘Jesus Christ, do we have any other things to put on here?'” The Bombers have a chance to accomplish an extremely rare feat on Sunday. With a win, it’d be a first time since 1961-62 that the Bombers have won back-to-back titles. “It’d mean a lot. I’d be lying to you if it wasn’t on the back of my mind, but we gotta focus on going 1-0 this week and getting that Grey Cup,” receiver Nic Demski said. “Obviously, that’d be a crazy accomplishment but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself yet. Hopefully you can ask me that Sunday and I’ll have a better answer for you.”Unlike the 2019 meeting, the Bombers find themselves as the favourites over the Ticats. Is that something Hamilton is using for extra motivation this week? Apparently not, says star receiver Brandon Banks. “I really don’t care about no underdog. At the end of the day, we here for a reason. Obviously, we have an opportunity. I think every fighter has got a punching opportunity and once you get out on the field, nobody’s really an underdog, we’re all professional athletes… They’re a good team, obviously they’ve been dominant all year. So, I’ll leave that prediction and all the underdog talk up to the media but obviously I believe we have a fighting chance.” Maybe it’s just me, but saying your team has a “fighting chance” doesn’t exactly make it sound like you’re all that confident.

The CFL has indefinitely suspened Toronto Argonauts VP of player personnel John Murphy following an investigation into his involvement in a verbal and physical altercation with fans following last Sunday’s Eastern final. Murphy was caught on video throwing a punch at, and slapping, a male Tiger-Cats fan, while also appearing to use a homophobic slur. The league’s investigation into a separate incident, this one involving player altercations with fans, continues.

As per Grey Cup tradition, the question asked to each head coach by Postmedia’s longtime scribe Terry Jones was what their philosophy is when it comes to players having sex on game day. It was a bit of an odd query this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic, but both coaches did their part by answering. Steinauer said the same thing he did in 2019, advising his players to do whatever got you to this point, while Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, who had a brilliant answer two years ago, opted to use the coronavirus as a reminder to be safe. I think it’s time to retire that question.

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.catwitter: @jeffkhamilton


twitter: @taylorallen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

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