The Tiger-Cats first day of training camp in 2023 featured several new faces and a renewed sense of competition and excitement. Several of the new players joining the Tiger-Cats had spent significant time competing against several of Hamilton’s veteran players. The combination of the new faces in new places and veterans competing to retain their position led to a competitive, fun atmosphere.
In post-practice interviews, head coach Orlondo Steinauer and veteran linebacker Simoni Lawrence mentioned the positive energy on the first day of practice. Steinauer said, “There was great energy; it was fun.” He also referenced the new faces on the Tiger-Cats roster starting to build chemistry “Chemistry means something; it’s gonna look different every year.”
Simoni Lawrence was also excited about the competitive atmosphere in the first practice “Day 1 of the camp was amazing; everyone was flying around.” Lawrence also feels like the Hamilton veterans and new players are starting to come together with a common goal of competing for the 2023 Grey Cup. He credits Tiger-Cats management “The management did a great job of bringing in guys that want to buy in.”
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was the most important free agent acquisition for the Tiger-Cats this off-season. When Steinauer discussed the addition of Mitchell, he said, “Football also means to him; he is going to hold people accountable, and he wants to be held accountable. Bo Levi Mitchell had a positive opinion of his first practice with his new team in Hamilton. Mitchell said, “It’s good to be here, and we had a great day today.”
Mitchell mentioned that he feels pressure to play at a high level in 2023 but that the pressure is the pressure that he puts on himself to play at the high level he has established for himself. Part of playing up to that standard is developing chemistry with his new teammates on the Tiger-Cats offense. He mentioned that he needs to build that chemistry with wide receiver Tim White. “It is monumental between the quarterback and receiver; you must build that chemistry in person.”
The new Tiger-Cats quarterback also highlighted the importance of developing chemistry with his new center and offensive line unit. In addition, Mitchell is working with backup quarterback Matt Shiltz to learn the details of offensive coordinator Tommy Condell’s offensive philosophy. Matt Shiltz returns to Hamilton after consistently contributing to the Tiger-Cats offense in 2022 when the former starting quarterback was dealing with injuries.
Returning wide receiver Tim White was asked how he felt about the first day of training camp. White said, “Right now, we have a pretty strong team; everyone is hungry and ready to work.” White also felt good about the offense after the first day, “it felt we were efficient as an offense today.”
Running back James Butler is another Tiger-Cats offense newcomer after a breakout season for the BC Lions in 2022. He described how he felt about joining the Tiger-Cats “I am excited about this new environment and the team.” Butler also mentioned that one of his parts of the Hamilton offense is the big offensive line, including Joel Figueroa. Figueroa and Butler played together while playing for the 2022 BC Lions.
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