HAMILTON — Though they lead different sides of the ball, the offensive and defensive coordinators of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats can agree on one thing.
The team is ahead of the curve set in 2013 after just one week of training camp.
Tommy Condell has been in charge of the team’s offence since last season. Over the last eight days of practice he finds himself rather pleased with his group as a whole.
“Overall it’s been a focused, competitive camp,” he said.
“The guys have gotten a lot of concepts in and they have done a good job. From the offensive line, to the protections, the runs, and the sets that we’re doing – all that stuff,” he added.
In 2013, Condell’s unit averaged 25.2 points scored per game.
He is already able to draw distinct differences from the team’s performance at the one-week point in last year’s camp compared to now.
“From a knowledge standpoint, we know a lot more. Its not that were further ahead in our concepts, but just knowing,” he stated.
“From a culture standpoint, it’s just that people know exactly what the expectations are at practice, and the expectations to prepare,” he added.
Defensive coordinator Orlondo Steinauer is also aware of the team’s improved mentality from a season ago.
“We’re just in a calmer place. He said.
“Everything is happening slower. Expectations are understood. You know what you have coming to camp, compared to last year’s unknown from just watching film. We know what we have, we know what we have to improve on and we’ve brought in great competition at those positions. It’s been fun to watch.”
For Steinauer, also in his second season at his post, it’s the little things that have stood out.
“Watching them in them in the lunch room, watching them in between practices, watching them joke around, watching their communication. In the classroom, their notebooks are open and they’re taking notes. It’s those things that have caught my attention and let’s me know that the entire team is gelling.”
With the team less than a week away from their first pre-season match against the Montreal Alouettes, one would expect the Ticats to narrow down their momentum. Steinauer knows just how he will prepare his troops.
“There’s nothing different. It’s just about tailoring it back a little bit. Giving their bodies a break,” he said.
“As far as our approach to practices and meetings, that will all remain the same”
Preparation for Condell’s gang is all about repetition and being in the know.
“It’s all about continuous situational football. Understanding the situations, and our collective mentality in those situations,” he said.
“It comes down to being competitive and being focused. That mantra is never going to change,” he added.