Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jeremiah Masoli Not Feeling the Pressure as Hamilton Tiger-Cats Starter

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jeremiah Masoli Not Feeling the Pressure as Hamilton Tiger-Cats Starter

Article excerpt

Masoli not feeling pressure as Ticats starter

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The workouts remain essentially the same, but Jeremiah Masoli's mindset this off-season has been much different.

For the first time in his pro career, Masoli prepared for a season knowing he was a starter. The 29-year-old San Francisco native will be Hamilton's No. 1 quarterback after leading the Tiger-Cats to a 6-4 record to end the '17 CFL campaign.

"It's been a little different, for sure, just mentality-wise," Masoli said during a conference call Tuesday. "I think knowing the success of the offence kind of has a lot to do with how I do and how I perform, that responsibility is kind of like in the back of your mind as the off-season goes.

"You just want to make sure you're as ready as can be when camp starts."

June Jones made Masoli the starter ahead of incumbent Zach Collaros upon replacing Kent Austin as head coach following Hamilton's 0-8 start. Masoli certainly responded, completing 249-of-391 passes (63.7 per cent) for a career-best 3,177 yards with 15 TDs and just five interceptions.

The five-foot-10, 228-pound Masoli also ran for 446 yards and four TDs on 70 carries (6.4-yard average). After the season, Hamilton signed Jones to a three-year deal then got Masoli's signature on a two-year extension after dealing Collaros to Saskatchewan.

"When I took over the head job, as I said at that time the guys that get fired are the head coach and quarterback," Jones said. "I have a lot of good feelings for Zach . . . it's just that, hey, timing is everything.

"Jeremiah was on cue when he got his chance. He never had one game where I even thought about putting Zach in, he just kept getting better and better. That's how it is sometimes in life. You're in the right place at the right time and Jeremiah was."

Still, Hamilton (6-12) missed the CFL playoffs last year for the first time in five years and just the second since 2009. Jones expects Masoli's experience last season will benefit the Ticats in 2018.

"He had a great finish under an adverse situation, which says a lot about him," Jones said. …

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