MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Kent Austin is no different than the 44,000-plus fans headed to Mosaic Stadium for the Grey Cup on Sunday. He’ll be checking the Weather Network before he goes.
“I might do that a few times a day,” the Hamilton coach said with a chuckle. “Yeah, I do. That’s the honest answer. Of course I do.
“You have to prepare, right? And if it’s going to be wet or it’s going to be high gusts or whatever, we want to be prepared for that. We don’t want to just show up and go ‘Gee, it’s 60 klicks in our face. What are we going to do?’ We have to have a plan. That’s part of our job.”
After two very chilly practices outdoors in Regina, the Tiger-Cats opted to bus 70 kilometres west to Moose Jaw to train indoors Friday at the YaraCentre.
Back in the Saskatchewan capital, the mercury plummeted to -25 C — which felt like -34 with the wind chill.
It should be warmer come game-day Sunday. The forecast calls for a daytime high of -1, feeling like -6.
Kickoff at Mosaic Stadium is 5:30 p.m. local time, with an expected temperature of -2 or -3.
Some Tiger-Cats looked uncomfortable in the frigid conditions at the stadium Wednesday — Thursday’s session there was closed — but the team seems to have since made a point of downplaying the weather.
Austin said the two practices at the Mosaic Stadium had served their purpose, with players told to gauge what kind of clothing they needed.
“I said earlier in the week that you have to use the first couple of practices to determine your gear,” he said. “Some of the mistakes that I’ve seen in the past with players, especially the skill guys, is they either over-dress or they under-dress. You have to find the right balance. And you need to use your practice to do that ... Same thing with your footing. You have to try different shoes and different cleats to get your footing proper.
“That’s the reason why you practise. It’s no different than running plays — it’s to get yourself prepared in every area as a football player to play at your best come game time.”
Linebacker Jamall Johnson says the Ticats will be out on the field “sleeveless and doing our thing.”
“Once you get out on the field and you start playing, you get your adrenalin going, nothing else matters,” he said. “The cold, you black that out and block it out. And all those outside factors that you can’t control you don’t want to worry about it.
Unlike his coach, Hamilton kicker Luca Congi won’t be consulting the Weather Network. He says it often doesn’t reflect the stadium conditions, which can change depending on location and design.
“Mosaic, it depends on the day, it depends on the time of the game,” said Congi, no stranger to Regina conditions after five seasons as a Roughrider. “Winds can be worse than anywhere else in the country. Or it can be pretty calm. It just depends on the day.
“Either way, you make your reads of the wind on that given day and keep focusing on your fundamentals and your technique.”