Mallett injury brings opportunity to shine
TigerTown was saddened on Thursday with the news that Ticats tailback Martell Mallett would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
But as the Black and Gold’s Head Coach and Director of Football Operations George Cortez pointed out in the wake of his team’s Friday morning workout, every injury brings with it a rare opportunity for the players behind them suddenly thrust into action.
“Obviously when you lose a player that you expected to be a starter, you are disappointed that it happened,” said Cortez. “But it’s professional football. Guys get hurt all the time, and it could have happened on the first play of the first game. Whoever the person is that gets the chance to play behind him needs to step up.
The experienced bench boss told the media gathered at Ron Joyce Stadium that he had shared a story from his coaching past with the team as inspiration for the Ticats reeling from the loss of their valued teammate.
“I gave the guys the parable of Allen Pitts and Will Moore,” said Cortez in a recollection of his time with the Calgary Stampeders.
“In ‘93 Allen Pitts had 45 catches and something around 780 yards through seven games and hurt his knee running routes in practice and was out for the season. Will Moore came in for the last 11 games and caught 70-something balls for over a thousand yards and then played in the NFL after that.
“And he was a backup for our team. So when these things happen, guys need to step up and perform.”
Mock Game: an exercise in situational football
With the Ticats slated to hold a mock game in front of fans at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Saturday, Cortez took a moment to explain the nature of the event for the uninitiated among the media.
The coach made clear that rather than a traditional scrimmage, the Ivor Wynne workout would consist of a number of scenario-based series designed to test the players’ situational awareness and execution.
“We have a script and one of the situations for example has the ball on the six yard line with six seconds left in the half,” said Cortez. “What play are you running to score a touchdown? What call does the defence make in that situation? We have certain landmarks that we look for that dictate whether we punt in those situations, whether we have timeouts to use. Some of the scenarios are short and others might run to 20 plays depending on the time allowed.”
While Cortez welcomed fans to turn out for the Saturday afternoon workout, he also cautioned the Ticats’ faithful not to expect the event to play out as a game would.
“If you want to come out and see some football, it’ll be something great to see. It will not be like watching a game, because we might run three plays and move to the opposite end of the field. The clock is going to change. We have a certain number of plays that we’re shooting to get, and we have scenarios built in where we might repeat the one we just did if we don’t get the number of plays that we want.”