Ticats test drive a new offensive line

Hamilton, ON, Canada / AM900 CHML

The Ticats are testing driving a new look offensive line at this year’s training camp.

Tackles Brian Simmons and Joel Figueroa have flipped spots while a handful of others are competing for spots on the interior of the line.

Head coach Kent Austin says they want to see if the switch at tackle makes the o-line better.

Hamilton allowed a CFL worst 65 sacks last season, and Austin admits that he thought of making the switch in 2013.

“This year we’re at a little bit different place with our understanding of what we are trying to do,” said Austin.

Offensive line coach Allen Rudolph says it’s a good time to try the experiment.

Rudolph says, “In case of injury or whatever we can bounce those guys around,” adding they have some good depth in the trenches and are “mixing and matching” to see which player is the best fit at each spot.

Figueroa is willing to help the team in any way, saying “I do whatever the coach asks me, play both sides or any interior” position if it helps the team, “I’m glad to help.”

Moving from right to left tackle brings a change in stance, foot work and hand movements for the hulking Miami University grad, but says “it’s nothing really big, it’s pretty much the same.”

Simmons is relishing the opportunity to expand his skills, saying the technique and angles are different, but he likes it, “Because this is my fourth camp, I need a challenge.”

The 29-year-old Simmons is also rubbing some A5-35 on body parts that he doesn’t normally reach.

“I’m used to everything on the left (side of his body) hurtin’, now everything on the right side is hurtin’,” he said with a smile, “so it’s nice to get a change.”

Simmons says apart from the physical stress that comes with training camp, he says the mental preparation “is the biggest challenge for me.”

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