Friday 2 December 2011

The Tiger-Cats, Kent Austin and Who to Believe

With the firing of Marcel Bellefeuille on Wednesday, the Tiger-Cats are searching for a new Head Coach. There have been a lot of names mentioned and one is Kent Austin. Austin last coached in the CFL in 2007 when he led Saskatchewan to their third Grey Cup championship in franchise history.

Austin has been at or near the top of every team's wish list (especially Saskatchewan) since he stepped down following the 2007 season to become the Offensive Coordinator at Ole Miss. He has since become the Head Coach at Cornell. He seems happy to be leading Big Red, so his return to the CFL is hardly a guarantee and is probably a long shot at best.

But Rod Pedersen said earlier this morning that the Tiger-Cats had already interviewed Austin. Dave Naylor would later dispute this by saying the Cats have not interviewed anyone yet, and wouldn't until next week. Naylor said he was told this by Tiger-Cat President Scott Mitchell.

It all comes down to credibility and Pedersen, to me, has about as much credibility as Perry Lefko (that is to say, he has none), while Naylor has credibility to spare.

The reason I question the accuracy of Pedersen's source goes back to an incident in 2010. Pedersen said on-air during a Roughriders preseason game that the Tiger-Cats had cut Quinton Porter. Pedersen's report came a few hours after the Tiger-Cats played their first preseason game in Toronto; a game in which Porter played well in limited playing time, going five for seven for 59 yards.

So when Pedersen said during the Riders game that Porter had been cut, it came as a shock.

It also turned out to be false. Quinton Porter was not cut on that June day, and he hasn't been cut on any day since then.

It is that one (and to this point, only) instance of Pedersen "breaking" news on the Ti-Cats that gives me pause. He was so very, very wrong about that. If he is using the same source now that he used then, they don't seem very reliable.

This is not to say that Austin hasn't been contacted about an interview, won't interview in the future or won't be named the next Head Coach of the Tiger-Cats. It's just that I'll take Naylor's word that the Cats haven't interviewed Austin over Pedersen's word that they have.

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