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Dunigan: Austin did a great job managing his QBs this season

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Matt Dunigan
11/5/2013 6:32:09 PM
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Next stop on Around the QB Horn: Hamilton, Ontario. This is where you'll find the Beast of the East, a Tiger-Cat team that went 8-2 against East Division opponents. That's tops in the Division with two more wins than Toronto, four more than Montreal. Simply put, Hamilton is considered a major threat to be playing in Regina on November 24th.

Offensively this team is led by 14-year veteran Henry (Smilin' Hank) Burris. He's a 38-year-old quarterback that plays like he's in his mid-20s.

Burris can still make any throw on the field, often times making it look easy! He possesses the ability to make defenders miss and can gash a defense with his legs just as well as he can with his cannon-like right arm.

Some folks talk about Henry's turnover woes, which do seem to come at the most inappropriate times, but what makes Burris so good is he can do things other quarterbacks can't and often times makes it look easy. So when he does make a mistake, it can leave you scratching your head and wondering what he was thinking. He was just being Henry, which is pretty damn amazing.

I'd much rather have a quarterback with his rare and unique skill set at the helm and try to real him in a bit than one without his abilities and ask him to do things he's not capable of. Put it this way, with Henry, you live and die by the sword, but at least you have one! He gives the Ticats a chance to win every time on the field.

Much has been made about Dan LeFevour's play this year in short yardage situations. When you digest the fact that you have a 38-year-old starting quarterback, you don't want to put him into the most violent scenario, ultimately the short yardage game.

Kent Austin managed his quarterbacks and did it wisely by removing Henry from this abuse and inserted a younger and certainly talented rushing quarterback in his own right, in LeFevour. LeFevour is a second-year Ticat from Central Michigan who has scored seven touchdowns on 54 rushing attempts. That's 54 less touches on Burris in a guaranteed contact and severe collision mode situation. LeFevour has been solid when given the opportunity to chuck it down field as he has completed 40-62 passes for 394 yards, a 64.5 percent completion percentage.

I'd look for a few attempts when he's in short yardage scenarios Sunday, as that would be a tendency breaker...

A couple of weeks back, we saw the emergence of Jeremiah Masoli, a dynamic young quarterback from Ole Miss. He was used in a wildcat formation against Montreal and was extremely effective. Masoli is a firecracker of a quarterback that is cut from the same cloth as many of the league's running backs at 5'10 and 221 lbs.

Coach Austin has spared his veteran gunslinger  some obvious punishment in short yardage situations this season by employing the skill set of the younger LeFevour, and balanced an aggressive Montreal defence with the deployment of Masoli in the misdirection wildcat offence. But - and this is a big but - he took away valuable touches from one of the most electrifying running backs in the CFL this year, super-rookie CJ Gable.  

Austin continues to tinker and tweak his offense, keeping opposing defenses on their toes and often times, their heels. Austin is creative, effective and certainly not afraid of mixing it up from week to week.

Let's see how the “Mad Scientist” Kent Austin attacks Montreal's stout defence this Sunday.

No doubt Burris will be slinging it all over the field making it look easy, LeFevour will be doing his thing in short yardage and maybe even Masoli will be deployed in the wildcat offence balancing up that aggressive Als defence.

Should be a great game Sunday at the University of Guelph's Alumni Stadium!

Henry Burris (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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