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Tiger-Cats won't have coach Austin on sidelines for key game with Stampeders

Calgary Stampeders defensive back Jamar Wall, normally #29, wears the number of teammate Mylan Hicks (31) during pre-game warm-ups before CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Hamilton, Ont., on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Milan Hicks, who wore #31, was killed in a shooting outside a Calgary bar last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
September 30, 2016 - 1:39 PM

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are determined not to let the disciplinary action taken against head coach Kent Austin hinder their ability to compete against the best team in the CFL.

Austin was banned from the sideline for one game and fined $10,000 by the CFL this week after making contact with an official in last week's game against Saskatchewan. The discipline comes with the 11-1-1 Calgary Stampeders set to visit Tim Hortons Field on Saturday in a key game for the 6-7-0 Tiger-Cats, who are fighting to stay in sole possession of second place in the East Division standings.

Calgary hasn't lost since the first week of the season so the Ticats know they'll have to be at their best even without Austin on the sideline.

"It doesn't change anything for me, so we'll be good," said quarterback Zach Collaros, who added he doesn't think it's been a distraction for the players.

Austin is allowed to coach from the spotter's box on the stadium's seventh floor. He'll have a headset and be in regular contact with his coaching staff and quarterback.

He will also be in the locker-room before kickoff and during halftime. Defensive co-ordinator Orlondo Steinauer will run the sidelines during the game.

"We have to execute at a very high level," Collaros said. "Offensively, it starts with the quarterback so I have to be on my game. We have to execute the game plan that's being called … we can't turn the football over, (we have to) eliminate negative plays on first down, stay out of second-and-longs."

Austin said he knows the team will be in good hands.

"From a personal standpoint, it's not great," he acknowledged Friday. "But we'll get through it. Get over it and be better for it."

Calgary has already secured a playoff spot thanks to a 12-game unbeaten streak. A win or tie in Hamilton will make it the longest single-season unbeaten streak in CFL history.

But it will be an emotional game for the Stampeders after the shooting death of 23-year-old teammate Mylan Hicks outside a Calgary nightclub last weekend. Stampeders safety Jamar Wall will be wearing Hicks' No. 31 as a tribute and he told reporters this week that the team wants to honour him through their play.

Austin said he knows despite the adversity, the Stampeders will be ready.

"It was a terrible loss, but I know they've got a strong team and a strong locker-room and a lot of resiliency on that football team," he said.

The Stampeders signed defensive end Cordarro Law this week to bolster a pass rush that is already third in the league with 33 sacks. Law played for Calgary in 2012 and 2013 before leaving for the NFL's San Diego Chargers.

He won't be dressed for the Hamilton game.

The Tiger-Cats, meanwhile, has been hit with key injuries, primarily to their offence.

Running back C.J. Gable and receiver Luke Tasker are on the one-game injured list. Receiver Chad Owens has been placed on the six-game injured list along with running back Ross Scheuerman, who was supposed to be Gable's replacement but has played just one game.

The Ticats have also lost Rico Murray and Courtney Stephen on defence. Hamilton acquired cornerback Johnny Adams this week from Winnipeg and he'll start against Calgary.

After missing the first part of the season with an injury, Adams recorded 21 defensive tackles, five special-teams tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery in his five games with the Bombers.

It has also been a tough week for Adams, who was close friends with Hicks. They attended Michigan State University together.

Calgary defeated Hamilton 30-24 in their last meeting in Week 10.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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