May 23, 2024

Leadership Was a Main Topic After Today’s Final Practice Ahead of Saturday’s Preseason Opener

Leadership can be like good art, essential and hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

It’s been mentioned often during the last few weeks after the Ticats rebuilt certain chunks of their team over the winter and prepared for their first season in a dozen years without the incomparable locker-room, and on-field, presence of now-retired Simoni Lawrence.

Inevitably, as time continues to grind on and one era bleeds into the next, professional teams have to replace not only bodies but spirits.

There are a lot of ways to characterize leadership in sports but often it’s a collage of a set of behaviours which help the individuals on a team to aim themselves in a collective direction.

It doesn’t have to always be loud, but it has to be at times—Hello, Mr. Lawrence—and it doesn’t have to be a solo flight – which, in most circumstances, is the way a quarterback must conduct himself.

Ticats head coach Scott Milanovich was pointing out today that leadership can be in group form, as he discussed what can best be described as the team’s core trio of Canadian offensive linemen. That would be centre David Beard, who’s flanked by guards Brandon Revenberg and Coulter Woodmansey. While they are, barring injury, The Untouchables on the offensive line, locked in like a trusted algorithm, they’re also inclusive, welcoming every new offensive linemen to the team. They’re the ropes-teachers. And they possess, individually, and as a unit the number one pre-requisite of team leadership: they play and practice consistently well and have proven themselves.

They’re already good leaders, but Milanovich, as a responsible coach should, wants them to stretch their parameters a bit, to be more vocal.

“I don’t know that it’s natural, really, for any of them,” he said. “But they’re all such pros and so well-respected throughout the team that I want them to use their voices a little bit more.

“I’m starting to see they’re slowly working their way into that.”

Revenberg, has definitely become more vocal over the years, as he’s part of a long chain of linemen passing on institutional consistency from one group to the next. He learned from Mike Filer and Ryan Bomben, who learned from Marwan Hage, who learned from Carl Coulter., and on and on it goes.

For his part, Revenberg willingly accepts Milanovich’s challenge. “It’s kind of like passing the torch right? It’s kind of being passed down to me,” he said this morning. “Me and Beard – even Coulter Woodmansey’s been here  four years now. So it’s trying to create that identity. More or less you try to represent Hamilton: blue collar; we’re going to be tough SOBs; we’re going to get after it; we’re going to run the ball hard; and when we pass we’re going to light you up too.”

And if you’re a leader, you do what you can, what it takes, to fascilitate the teammates closest to you buying in to the identity and the common goal.

You can catch the full interviews of today’s discussions with Revenberg and Milanovich at Ticats.ca.

Also, as part of our Ticats Today podcast we examine how the Ottawa Redblacks and Tiger-Cats are approaching Saturday’s preseason game from completely opposite points of view, and running back Ante Litre discusses the kind of powerful game he plays and his love for special teams.

CATS CLAUSES: Football is a small universe: Hamilton native Jacob Patten, the former Mac receiver, has made some difficult catches when he’s got his opportunities. On the sidelines much of the time is his former quarterback at Bishop Ryan, Nick Roberto, who is the Ticats manager of football operations … veteran Richard Leonard, who got the start in the controlled scrimmage at short side defensive halfback, wasn’t in uniform today after making interceptions each of the last two days. Sophomore Ticat Kenneth George Jr. took that role today and David Vereen, who came to the Ticats in the second half of last season, looked good at wide side defensive halfback … in case you missed the news release, defensive back Will Sunderland, the third year Ticat, was placed on the six-game injured list and Americans Michael Jacquet (DB) and Jason Lewan (DL) were released as was National DB Frederik Lesieur.