In the second-last teleconference of the CFL’s season preview series; Scott Mitchell, CEO, and Kent Austin, Vice President of Football Operations, General Manager and Head Coach addressed the media regarding the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 2015 season. Here are the Hard-Hitting Facts from that call:
“I’m not sure there’s been a better point in the franchise’s history in the past half-century.” – Scott Mitchell
- Tim Horton’s Field has changed the team’s business, as well as fan engagement.
- The Tiger-Cats are striving to be as good as any sporting event in North America.
- Suites, club-seats, premium packages are all sold out and have waiting lists.
- Partnerships in-stadium are sold-out.
- Expectation is the Tiger-Cats will be profitable in 2015. The Ticats have not been profitable in 40 years.
“We’ve been able to keep a real quality staff in place. I have great individuals around me. Philosophically, we believe in hiring better people than ourselves. Continuity goes a long way in establishing the ability to perform at a high level, year-in and year-out.” – Kent Austin
When will Hamilton host a Grey Cup?
- The hope is to host one soon, and many over time.
- Every Grey Cup sees an economic impact to the surrounding city in excess of $100 Million.
- With the stadium in place, and collaboration with the city, region, and province the Ticats believe a viable bid will come in time.
Lessons from the past 2 seasons (2 Grey Cup appearances)
- Ticats have a philosophy; you can learn from every environment, sometimes you learn more from losses than from victories.
- You have to focus on the process of getting better.
- If you’re always improving then the results speak for themselves.
Season ticket sales
- Expectations are to sell out.
- Dramatic increase in season tickets relative to Ivor Wynne’s final season.
Why the home advantage at Tim Horton’s field?
- Parity in the league leaves some small advantages to have big effects.
- Fan support was a big factor psychologically for Ticats player.
- Coming home coincided with Zach’s return from injury, along with better football being played generally.
Continuity of coaching staff, how, why, etc.
- The Ticats have been very fortunate in retaining quality coaches.
- Organizational strength and cohesiveness has kept coaches around.
- There is no top-down hierarchy in the coaching structure. Everyone has a job to do, and expectations along with it.
- Trustworthiness increases with continuity between players and coaches. Not just from players’ perspectives, but for the coaches as well.
- Peter Dyakowski is in the best shape Austin has seen since arriving. Strong, bright, and cares about the team.
- Ryan Bomben is a ratio-changer. He comes with the versatility of playing all 3 positions along the offensive line should injuries arise.
Approach to developing a quarterback?
- It depends on the individual on how well he learns, and how he does learn.
- You’ll never get enough reps to be prepared (at QB).
- There are ways to prepare mentally, which is important developing quarterbacks.
- Players need to constantly be making mental notes during every rep so that they can come back the next day and have the knowledge regardless if they got the physical practice or not.
Zach Collaros’ development off of a stellar 2014 season:
- Kent Austin implores a 3-prong analysis for his quarterbacks:
- Decision-making on the field.
- Accuracy depending on all situations (pressure, inside/outside pocket, etc)
- Toughness, both mentally and physically.
- Collaros is ahead of himself from last season already, which comes with understanding the offense a little more comprehensively.
- “He’s got some Doug Flutie in him.” – Kent Austin
- Collaros caught Austin off-guard with how well-prepared he was and how bright he was from the get go.
Regarding Brandon Banks: “He’s a really dynamic football player, and he knows how to score. He has game-changing ability.” – Kent Austin