(With files from Ticats.ca)
HAMILTON -- With Andy Fantuz sidelined for this week’s matchup in Winnipeg, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be forced to do some roster juggling on the offensive side of the ball.
As Fantuz sits against the Blue Bombers, another Canadian receiver that helped top one of the Tiger-Cats busiest off-seasons in relation to transactions will get his chance to step into the former Roughrider’s place on the field.
Samuel Giguere was originally drafted by the Ticats in the first round of the 2008 CFL Canadian Draft and joined the club in the off-season after spending time with the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants.
His raw ability is what attracted the ‘Cats to Giguere, enough to pursue him once again, but it is his versatility that has head coach George Cortez relieved with his star non-import pass-catcher on the sidelines.
“When we started in training camp, we talked about the fact that they’d have to be able to play any spot, because we call plays based on concepts rather than numbers,” said Cortez. “If you know what’s going on within the concept, you should ultimately be able to play the spots.
“Now, that’s obviously easier said than done when you’re first starting out, but once you get to it, it gives you an amazing amount of flexibility.”
Giguere is often listed on the Ticats depth chart at the wideout spot, and still is, but will likely move inside where Fantuz often mans the slotback position. A transition that Cortez is not too concerned about.
“We have the same expectation for him [as Fantuz],” said Cortez. “Especially when we have a full week of practice for the guys that take spots, we expect them to play well. He had a good week in practice. It’s not like those guys don’t hear everything that’s said about every position.”
Fantuz headlined the overwhelming storyline at Tiger-Cats practice this week which has been the team’s efforts to accommodate the injuries it has sustained in recent weeks.
Cortez indicated on Tuesday that with a number of players receiving welcome practice reps, the team will be employing more than one personnel package against Winnipeg.
“We’ve had a number of injuries, most of them dealing with guys who play on special teams to be quite honest,” said the coach. “It has afforded us the opportunity to get more guys experience.
“We’ve practiced probably with two different ways to play on defence, and we’ll probably play both ways during the game, because all of those guys are going to be there.”
Cortez praised those players who have been forced into action midgame in recent contests, and stated that expectations are higher for such players with a week of practice under their belts.
“We’ve had a lot of change this year,” said the coach. “Some of it has come from players going down during games, and players have done a great job of filling in during the games.
“Now that some guys have been given a little more practice during the week, we’re expecting them to do a good job.”