The ‘Throwin’ Samoan’ meets Jason.
No, it’s not the title of some second-rate B-movie horror flick but the potentially explosive mix of Ticat offensive co-ordinator Joe Paopao and rifle-armed Tabbie tosser Jason Maas. But adding a little Paopao into the Maas is a combination that could give Canadian Football League defences the chills in 2006.
Paopao, who was nicknamed the ‘Throwin Samoan’ while putting up some gaudy numbers during an 11-year career as a CFL pivot, relishes the chance of working with the 30-year-old Maas, if for nothing more than to re-acquaint the Tabbies with the need to light the numbers on the Dofasco Tigervision scoreboard at Ivor Wynne.
Paopao said having Maas in the Tabbie pocket makes his job that much easier.
"He is what you’re looking for. Size, arm-strength, an intangible such as his will to will things. It’s going to be fun.
“Our philosophy on offence is a Tiger-Cat offence, winning football. We don’t care how we win, run the ball, throw the ball, protect the ball. Do the things good offences do. Keep (Hamilton defensive co-ordinator) Kavis (Reed) on the sidelines eating hotdogs or whatever he does over there. Our job is to put points on the board,” Paopao said at a media conference this week.
While most casual observers believe the combination means the Cats will go aerial more often than Westjet, the new Cat hire said that is not necessarily the case. Paopao said he doesn’t care if Maas throws for over 5,000 yards or has to climb a ladder and manually put points on the board just as long as they get on there.
"If it (having Maas whip the leather for 5,000-yards) helps us win games that is what we’re going to need. We have to score points. But we have to be smart with the ball. If it isn’t there, we have to come away with a field goal, or however we score points, we have to be smart. We have to give ourselves a chance.
“But he (Maas) is a young guy that everyone is excited about. He is excited about playing football. I look forward to working with him,” Paopao said.
New Cat offensive line coach Kani Kauahi will do his part to upgrade the personal protection racket that will afford Maas time and comfort to whisk the Wilson downfield.
"Absolutely. When I saw that we signed Jason, my protective juices started flowing. I imagine the guys are feeling the same way. They understand who they have behind them, he is a general, he is a leader and a guy who is going to fight for you. You can’t ask for anything more in the quarterback spot.
“Once you have that in place you have guys upfront who understand what their job and their role is and that’s to keep him clean,” Kauahi said.
Ticat general manager Rob Katz said the club is negotiating a new contract with Cat linebacker Rob Hitchcock that would see the Hamilton native back in the black and gold for a 12th season. Hitchcock is currently the longest-serving Tabbie on the squad.