Andrew Bucholtz

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Andrew Bucholtz is a Canadian football blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Three Stars: Patrick Watkins, Bo Levi Mitchell and Grant Shaw shine in Week Six

    Continuing our Three Stars series, here's a look at the CFL's top performances for Week Six, where a pair of Edmonton Eskimos particularly shone.

    First star/defensive player of the week: Patrick Watkins, cornerback, Edmonton Eskimos: Watkins turned in a remarkable showing in Edmonton's 30-5 win over Saskatchewan Friday, recording two interceptions, a sack and five tackles. Yes, one of those interceptions came right at the end of the game off a long throw from backup Tino Sunseri, but the other one was a crucial pick-six off starter Brett Smith that helped determine the course of this game. Watkins was a league all-star with Toronto in 2013, joined Edmonton as a free agent in 2014, and posted another CFL all-star nod last year. The Florida State product seems well on course to possibly earn another league all-star nod this season, posting 23 tackles, three interceptions and a sack so far. He's been a key part of the Eskimos' defensive success.

    (Honourable mentions: Eric Norwood, DE, Hamilton; Sam Hurl, LB, Winnipeg; Simoni Lawrence, LB, Hamilton.)

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  • Brendan Taman says he totally believes in Corey Chamblin, has board support

    Saskatchewan Roughriders' GM Brendan Taman is disputing Gary Lawless' report from Saturday that he's trying to fire head coach Corey Chamblin. Lawless reported that "a senior Riders' executive" told him Taman was set to propose firing Chamblin to team president Craig Reynolds in a meeting as early as Sunday. Taman did meet with Reynolds, but he told Saskatchewan media Monday afternoon that he, the president and the board support Chamblin:

    "I met with (Corey) today and he is going about his business and he is going to be our coach going forward," Taman said. "Craig and the board and myself fully support that."

    Rumblings about Chamblin's future had been out for a few weeks but a report by TSN's Gary Lawless on the weekend suggested that Taman was to approach the board about letting his head coach go.

    Taman put the rumours to rest Monday, saying that Chamblin had "earned the right to turn this ship around and he is going to do everything he can to do that."

    "He is the same guy I hired a

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  • Ticats continue Tim Hortons Field dominance thanks to Argonauts' mistakes

    The Hamilton Tiger-Cats improved their perfect record at Tim Hortons Field to 8-0 (counting last year's East Final) with a 34-18 win over the Toronto Argonauts Monday night, but they had plenty of help from the Argonauts' own mistakes. This one got off to a bad start for Toronto when they let Hamilton pull off an onside punt recovery for a touchdown for the first points of the game, and it didn't get much better from there. The Argonauts turned the ball over on downs three times, and they also fumbled once and were unable to establish a ground game. They trailed 34-12 midway through the fourth quarter, and only made the score a little closer thanks to a garbage-time TD drive from backup QB Mitchell Gale. The Tiger-Cats deserve a lot of credit for how thoroughly they dominated Monday night, but the Argonauts' errors were also a big part of this win.

    For Toronto, the screwups on the early onside punt really did set the tone for this game. It was a well-executed piece of trickery by

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  • Video: Ticats take advantage of an onside punt recovery to go up 7-0

    The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' offence wasn't working perfectly early on in Monday's clash against the Toronto Argonauts, and they were forced to punt on their first series, but they managed to turn that punt into the first touchdown of the game thanks to a beautifully-executed trick play. Two of the Tiger-Cats' gunners lined up behind punter Justin Medlock, making them eligible to recover the punt without a no-yards penalty under the CFL's rules, and Brandon Stewart did just that:

    Stewart raced down the field, and with Toronto's returners standing around in hopes of a no-yard penalty (they didn't clue in that he was onside), he was able to dive on the ball, at the very least giving the Tiger-Cats possession in great field position. Things got even better for Hamilton afterwards, though, as none of the Argonauts touched Stewart down, allowing him to get up and run in for the touchdown. (Yes, a flag does fly for no yards, but that's because the official throwing that isn't watching if players are onside or not; after he was informed that Stewart was onside, the flag was picked up.) That marked only the second CFL onside punt recovery for a touchdown since 1999.

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  • Former roomates Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros face off in Battle of Ontario

    The Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have faced each other countless times over the years, but the twist in Monday's game (7 p.m. Eastern, TSN/ESPN2) involves the starting quarterbacks. Both Hamilton's Zach Collaros and Toronto's Trevor Harris were at one point backups to Ricky Ray with the Argonauts (Ray is still with Toronto, but is on the six-game injured list, recovering from a shoulder injury), where they roomed together on the road, and both have stepped out of his shadow to shine on their own. Now, they're facing each other for the first time as starters.'s Justin Dunk got some interesting comments from Argonauts' head coach Scott Milanovich about the two quarterbacks, why they both fit in his system, and how they compare to other QBs he's coached, such as Ray and Anthony Calvillo. Here's the key part of what Milanovich told Dunk:

    "What we do for each quarterback is try to build the game plan around their skillset, and almost every quarterback has a different skillset. Zach was different then Trevor, and Ricky was different than AC. We try to find some things that they do well and maybe start sprinkling in some things that are maybe unknown, whether they can throw this pass or that pass, but we try to stay with their realm of comfort. ..."

    "You have to be able to throw. I'm not necessarily looking for just a pocket passer, like a Ricky, but first and foremost, you have to be accurate. If we can find a guy that can do all the things that Ricky can do and still run like Michael Vick, that would be the perfect guy for us, but those guys are hard to find, so we're just looking first and foremost for a guy that's intelligent, willing to work and is accurate throwing."

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  • Stampeders recover from early 17-0 deficit to edge Alouettes 25-22 Saturday

    The CFL has continued to prove its "No Lead Is Safe" tagline recently, particularly with the B.C. Lions giving up a 21-0 lead to lose 30-27 to the Toronto Argonauts last week, and the Montreal Alouettes and Calgary Stampeders continued that trend Saturday, with Calgary overcoming a 17-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter to eventually triumph 25-22. The Stampeders struggled in all three aspects of the game early, but rebounded in each area, which was a big part of why they came out with the win. That improves their record to 4-2 and keeps them near the top of the West (Edmonton is 4-1), and suggests that they're overcoming some of their early-season struggles and looking more like the defending Grey Cup champions they are.

    Nothing was working for Calgary early on, with their offence ineffectual, their defence burned (particularly on a 51-yard middle-of-the-field touchdown pass from Rakeem Cato to S.J. Green on a go route) and their special teams vulnerable (especially on a 74-yard

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  • Rider GM Brendan Taman will ask to fire HC Corey Chamblin - Gary Lawless' source

    The Saskatchewan Roughriders' 30-5 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos Friday marked the team's first 0-6 start to a season since 1979, and now, it appears it has them set to take drastic action. Gary Lawless of The Winnipeg Free Press and TSN 1290 Radio reported on TSN Saturday that according to a source he described as "a senior Riders' executive," Saskatchewan general manager Brendan Taman is set to propose firing head coach Corey Chamblin to team president Craig Reynolds. Here's exactly how Lawless phrased it:

    "Saskatchewan Roughriders' GM Brendan Taman is set to recommend the firing of head coach Corey Chamblin. A senior Riders' executive says Taman will meet with team president Craig Reynolds as early as Sunday to discuss the future direction of the team. Taman, says the source, would like to take advantage of an upcoming bye week to put an interim head coach in place for the remainder of the season. The Argos play in Toronto next weekend [Saturday, Aug. 8] then have a bye. If given the go-ahead, Taman would fire Chamblin after the Argos' game and then use the bye week to install a new coach. It's unknown if Reynolds will allow Taman to put a plan in place to move forward or insist on the status quo. If Taman is told not to fire Chamblin, the senior Riders' executive believes the Riders' board would then wait and enact a major housecleaning at the end of the season, which would include the firing of Taman. The most obvious candidates for an interim head coaching position are former B.C. Lions' head coach Mike Benevides and former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice."

    It's notable that this is a substantial change from what Lawless reported earlier this season. Two weeks ago after the Riders fell to 0-4 with a home loss to B.C., Lawless reported that Taman had no intention of firing Chamblin, and that if asked to do so by Reynolds or the board, he'd refuse. That doesn't mean the earlier report was necessarily inaccurate; it's quite possible Taman's opinion has changed, as the last two weeks have seen two particularly devastating losses for the team (with Friday's 30-5 thumping by Edmonton looking especially bad) and a significant long-term injury to quarterback Kevin Glenn. However, it is interesting that he would go from refusing to fire Chamblin at any cost to being the one who asks for the authority to fire him. If both reports are accurate, that could be a last-ditch attempt on Taman's part to keep his own job.

    Read More »from Rider GM Brendan Taman will ask to fire HC Corey Chamblin - Gary Lawless' source
  • Riders fall to 0-6 for first time since 1979 with 30-5 loss to Eskimos

    The Saskatchewan Roughriders' problems through five weeks were bad enough, but their situation looks much worse still following a 30-5 thumping by the Edmonton Eskimos Friday. Without Kevin Glenn thanks to injury, they were forced to rely on CFL rookie Brett Smith, and although he showed some potential in the first half, Edmonton's defence was able to take advantage of him in the second half. The Riders' defence struggled through their first five weeks, and it didn't look much better this week, but the once-impressive offence also fell off the map Friday, leading to an all-around dismal game. The loss dropped Saskatchewan to 0-6 for the first time since 1979, and unless the Roughriders show drastic improvement soon, they may keep adding to that loss total.

    Smith showed some promise early on, and he finished with 15 completions on 22 attempts, which made for a pretty solid 68.2 per cent completion rate. However, many of those were short passes, and he only threw for 132 yards. More concerningly still, he tossed two interceptions, one of which was taken to the house for six points by Eskimos' cornerback Patrick Watkins. Yes, a first start is always tough, especially for someone in his first CFL season, and yes, Smith showed some potential. They'll need a much better quarterbacking performance to pick up a win in this league, though, and they may not get it from Smith, or from backup Tino Sunseri (who completed five of eight passes for 63 yards with an interception at the end of the game). It may well be death from above that's led to the team's worst performance since 1979.

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  • With pass on IFAF world championships, what's Canada's senior team's future?

    Amidst all the drama about the apparent IFAF split and what that means for Canada, it would be easy to overlook how Football Canada didn't even send a team to this month's senior world championships. That's an interesting story in its own right, though, especially as Canada took silver at the last edition of the tournament, in Austria in 2011. I was able to address why it happened and what the plans are for future competition at the senior level in an interview with Football Canada executive director Shannon Donovan Friday. Donovan said the biggest issue in putting a team together was the timing, as the event's held during the CFL season and also when many CIS players have their own season preparation going on. Players were also tied up with CFL training camps and tryouts during the period they would have needed to come together for this team.

    "The timing of the event is very difficult," she said. "We couldn't find a way to make it work."

    Donovan said it was also difficult to get those

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  • Interview: Football Canada's Shannon Donovan on IFAF split

    What if I told you that around half of the members of an international sports federation with Olympic aspirations appear to have broken away before the championship game, held their own congress and elections, seized control of the organization's Twitter account, prompted the remaining federation members to declare that the Twitter account was unofficial and that their own official elections stood, and done all that with almost no one noticing? What if I told you that the reigning silver medalists, from a country with the second-ranked pro football league in the world and the most pro football players outside the U.S., didn't send a team to the senior world championships, partly because those championships were moved across the ocean to their neighbouring country at the last minute, and almost no one noticed that either? All of the above is true, and it's just part of the weirdness surrounding the International Federation of American Football (IFAF)'s latest senior world championship, which Rodger Sherman outlined in this excellent SB Nation piece that was published Thursday. For the details of what went down, and an exclusive interview with Football Canada executive director Shannon Donovan about what this means for Canada and international football, read on.

    The short version of what happened: the senior world championships are held every four years, with Canada winning silver in the latest edition in Austria in 2011. The 2015 edition was initially scheduled for Stockholm, Sweden, but was controversially cancelled in December 2014 amidst allegations of impropriety against then-IFAF president Tommy Wiking, who took a leave of absence from the organization and from the Swedish football federation that week, citing health reasons. The tournament was officially moved to Canton, Ohio two months later, and that decision actually made it harder for Canada to field a team. Football Canada announced in April they weren't sending a squad, one of five countries to drop out after the location change, leaving the tournament with a field of just seven teams.

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