Burris: loss is a learning experience
Speaking in the wake of the Ticats’ Monday morning practice, quarterback Henry Burris explained his approach to a loss such as that suffered on Friday night. The veteran pivot argued that while losing was hardly enjoyable, it did offer the opportunity for growth on the Black and Gold’s part.
“First of all, you always hate to lose,” said Burris of Friday's result. “But secondly, you always have to learn from it. With where our team is right now, I take that loss from the other night as a valuable learning experience for us all, as players and coaches. Because now we’re really starting to get to know our identity and the things that we’re going to have to hone up and get better at. We’re going up against a very good BC Lions team this week. We’re going to have to be much better out there and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. We didn’t do a good job of that on Friday. We had big plays called back. But again, we’re looking forward to playing the defending Grey Cup champions.
“You can’t hold on to the past, because the future’s right up on top of you. Right now, everybody’s tied for first in the East and the thing is that we can always reflect on the past and look at the things that we didn’t do as well and get better at those and continue to build off of the positives. That’s really all that you can do. That’s professional football. It’s about how you go through the losses and it’s also about how you bounce back. Of course we didn’t want that to happen the other night, but things happen in this game.
In fact, Burris stated his belief that a loss may have been more beneficial than a win, as it exposed weaknesses in the Ticats’ game that might otherwise have been obscured by a ‘W’.
“I think that a loss at that point was more valuable than a win for us, because we wouldn’t have focused on our deficiencies if we’d won,” said the veteran quarterback. “When you win, everything is great. When you lose, you have a tendency to focus more on those things, and rightfully so. I’d rather deal with those situations now than later in the season, and let’s get the wrong right now. What better way to do that than against BC?”
Cortez: same practice, different game plan
For his part, the Ticats’ Head Coach and Director of Football Operations George Cortez said on Monday that while the game planning changes radically from week to week, his practice habits would not deviate after the loss.
“It’s the same practice,” Cortez emphasized. “As long as we’re on three-day work weeks, we’ll be on the same sort of practice schedule. There’s huge change in every game plan every week, and there’ll probably be some roster changes too. That’s why we practice, and sometimes roster changes are dependent on the health of players too. On the first day of the week, you sometimes don’t know.”
The coach indicated that his team would operate with a short memory, in order to maintain focus and balance across a long 18-game season.
“We don’t like them,” said Cortez of losses. “You have to practice about the same all of the time. This is a long season. You can’t be on the good-bad rollercoaster. You have to come out and work to get better no matter how the past week was. I’m done with that, we’ve moved on. We have 24 hours to grieve or to celebrate and then we’re moving on. The most important game is always the next one.”
Cortez: relishing the road and the challenge of B.C.
Facing a westward road trip on Friday when his team confronts the B.C. Lions, Cortez argued on Monday that he in many ways prefers traveling from a coaching standpoint.
“Going on the road is a state of mind,” said the coach. “I actually, personally, think it’s easier to go out on the road and not play at home. You don’t have your family to deal with, and everything’s very structured. You have meetings and you’re all together at the hotel, your meals are brought to you. I actually like going on the road.”
Cortez had praise for the Lions organization, and a team that he pointed out would be formidable enough without last season’s Grey Cup to its name.
“They’re a very good football team,” said the coach of his upcoming opponents. “If they hadn’t won the Grey Cup they’d still have a very good football team. I’m looking forward to it. They have a new Head Coach, but I either coached with or coached their whole offensive coaching staff. I know a bunch of their defensive coaches and I know how they go about doing things. Now does that make it any easier? No. It just means that you understand certain things.
“I coached with Wally (Buono) for a long time, and the structure’s still the same, and I know how they went about looking at other teams and how they want to take away certain things. Will that make it any better for us? No. But it gives us a better idea of what we might see when the game happens. Then it comes down to whether our players execute better than their players.”