So Canada day is here (at least in New Zealand where I am right now) and it is time to go through the lineups for the Cats for their season opener at Ivor Wynne.
Starting with the offensive line for Hamilton, we are now into the two import tackle regime which is a definite change from last year. Jimenez is in at right tackle which isn't a surprise, but rookie Brian Simmons starts at left tackle ahead of fellow import Belton Johnson. I see some illegal procedure calls coming from Simmons, but maybe he will surprise me. I'm a little surprised to see Johnson on the game day roster. I would have thought there would be a non-import backup for roster reasons.
Non-imports Dyakowski and Simeon "the Red Animal" Rottier are back as the guards with non-import Hage back as centre. So not huge changes on the line, but the move to two imports is unusual and indicates either strength at other positions for non-imports or sucking at finding a Canadian tackle. Kind of a glass half full, half empty thing.
At wide receiver, a little bit of a surprise with rookie 6'5" import Aaron Kelly and import Arland Bruce listed as the other receiver. Maurice Mann and non-import Dave Stala are listed as the slotbacks. No McDaniel and I haven't looked as to why.
Glenn starts at quarterback with Porter backing up, Cobourne at running back with Thigpen backing him up and non-import Darcy Brown at fullback. Former linebacker Barrenechea backs him up. That's five offensive non-import starters if you are counting.
On the defensive line, veteran non-imports Baggs and Hickman are back as the ends. With the release of Bolden, almost rookie Albert Smith is the import defensive tackle and second year non-import Eddie Steele is the non-import defensive tackle. So veterans on the ends and noobs in the middle. Hopefully Baggs has a good game today.
The outside linebackers are Knowlton and Johnson and former Rider Williams in the middle, all imports. Hopefully the linebacking core will be a strength this year for the Cats.
Non-import Hinds is back starting at one of the corner spots with import rookie Marcell Young at the other corner spot. Veteran import Dennis is one of the defensive halfbacks, with import Carlos Thomas as the other. Thomas seems to be sort of a rookie, as all he seems to have done so far in the CFL is occupy a practice roster position. I should really look up the definition of rookie in the CFL. Import Shivers is in as safety, which I think is the first import safety for Hamilton in a long time. That's two defensive non-import starters and seven total overall, which is the minimum number. Hamilton better hope for non injuries to their non-import starters.
Not a bad opening lineup. The main question seems to be the secondary and the interior of the defensive line. The offense has enough continuity that the Ticats should be strong out of the gate.
I looked on Winnipeg's site for their lineup, but it is blank right now. If it pops up later, I'll make another post.