Austin dismisses Jones’s spying allegation

HAMILTON — Kent Austin dismissed allegations from Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach/GM Chris Jones that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats used insider information prior to their meeting earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Jones said the Riders will hold closed practices for the remainder of the season after accusing the Ticats of spying prior to their regular-season matchup. Saskatchewan beat Hamilton 37-20 on July 8 for its first win of the year. The Ticats (0-3) remain winless.

“Oh, Chris, yeah, good old Chris,” Austin, Hamilton’s head coach and vice-president of football operations, said Wednesday. “That’s, quite frankly, absurd.

“God forbid that we actually prepared our players as coaches. Or maybe they’re just looking for a reason to close their practice.”

CFL rules permit teams to old one closed practice per week.

Jones was particularly concerned about a specific special teams play in the game, where he felt the Ticats reacted uncharacteristically quickly to Saskatchewan’s formation.

“As soon as they walked out on the field they identified it in five seconds,” Jones said. “So you know somebody had to be here watching practice and told them, ‘Hey if they’re doing this, it’s a punt block.’

“We’re not going to allow that to happen. So we’re going to close practice and if we do have anything, we’ll work on it on the day that’s closed and that way nobody gets the upper hand on us.”

But Austin said if the Ticats we’re spying, he would have expected a better result.

“It didn’t work out too well for us except for that play, huh? If we were doing that, I’d need to fire the scouts,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous. I don’t police our stadium. You’re running so many things during the week and you’re going to change things come game time because of the complexion of the game that’s being played in front of you. That’s overblown a little bit, I think.”

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