A Complete Overhaul of a CFL Team
- Running Back Martell Mallett at his Hamilton Tiger Cat Press Conference Announcement Signing
The Hamilton Tiger Cats have made several key coach and player personnel moves both on and off the field during this CFL off-season. Some of the moves were not surprising, like the signing of George Cortez as head coach and trading quarterback Kevin Glenn in exchange for Henry Burris.
However many of the moves General Manager Bob O’Billovich has made are very surprising. Firing Head Coach Marcel Beufeuille two days after Grey Cup was one. I think many were surprised because both gentlemen were seen together during Grey Cup week, and no sign of Beufeuille’s firing was apparent. The timing of this move caught many CFL followers like myself off-guard.
Then this past week, the Tiger Cats dropped a bomb by announcing they had signed former BC Lion stand-out running back Martell Mallett. Contract terms have not been released. Mallett last played in the CFL in 2009, racking up 1240 rushing yards in his rookie season. He then bounced around between the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, and New York Giants with limited success.
At first, this moves seems very surprising because prior to last season Hamilton signed former Alouette running back Avon Cobourne to a deal. Colbourne was an inspirational leader in a Ticat dressing room with many younger players. On the field, he put his money where his mouth was rushing for 961 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. In a very classy move, after the Mallett signing the Ticats approached Cobourne and asked what he wanted to do. He asked to be released from his contract and the team did so.
But after digesting Bob O’Billovich’s move it does make sense. Cobourne is 32 and it appears his best football days are behind him. Mallett is only 25 and still has several excellent running years ahead of him. Plus the signing of Mallett saves the Ticats money they can use to upgrade other areas of the team. With the emergence of Terry Grant last season, and the Mallett signing, The Ticats have one of the youngest and likely one of the most exciting backfields in the CFL.
Finally the Ticats hired Jim Daley as Special Teams Co-Ordinator, Nelson Martin as Defensive Backs Coach and Ryan Sheahan as running backs coach. All three men have CFL experience and I feel Head Coach George Cortez will surround himself with excellent personnel to take this team to the next level.
The past three seasons, the Tiger Cats have hovered around the .500 mark. The job was not getting done, and so changes have been made. This team has been completely overhauled, like a car. The engine (Head Coach), transmission (Quarterback) and other key parts (Assistant Coaches, Running Back) have been replaced to take this team to the next level. Previously this team was like the little engine that could stating “I think I can, I think I can.” But ultimately did not. The 2012 Hamilton Tiger Cats edition look like they may be able to say “I know I can, I know I can.”
But time will tell. For the time being I will follow the motto “In Obie, we trust!” I’m a huge CFL fan, but I’m not a football expert. Bob O’Billovich knows how to evaluate and scout football talent very well. He has done a fantastic job doing that since he arrived as Ticat General Manager in 2008, bringing in excellent talent. Hopefully the coaching staff is now in-place to take that talent to the next level and be the big engine that can.
What do you think?
And That’s The Last Word!!!!!!!