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May 30, 2024

Hogan: Mauger Eager to Fill a Void

Who is going to replace Adarius Pickett? It was one of the most asked questions by Toronto Argonaut fans this off-season, and with good reason. The strongside, or SAM linebacker was a finalist for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award last year after a stellar season.

In the week-long negotiation window leading up to free agency, Pickett announced he had agreed to terms with the Ottawa Redblacks, creating an opening for a starter in Toronto.

It was a void that lasted just a few hours. On the Saturday prior to the beginning of free agency, the Boatmen agreed to terms with Quincy Mauger, pronounced mo-ZHAY, who was previously with the BC Lions. It was a combination of opportunity, a strong impression of the coaches, and the city itself that brought him here.

He also loves the challenge of replacing a CFL all-star.

“He’s definitely a great player,” Mauger said of Pickett. “The coaches have set a bar for me, not based on anybody else, but just knowing what kind of player I am. They’re pushing me to excel and be great, that’s what’s driving me. I’ve got my own personal goals, but the coaching and the players around me, especially the vets, are giving me the positive energy to be great. That’s what’s driving me to succeed in this position and on this team.”

There’s a strong mutual admiration between Mauger and his coaches. The one that he works most closely with is Will Fields, the defensive co-coordinator and defensive backs coach. He told Argonauts.ca that there’s not much to not like about his new SAM backer.

“He’s an all-around player,” said Fields. “He can cover, he can play the run, he can play deep in zone coverage, he can do it all. He has intensity, smarts, he’s an excellent communicator, and most of all he’s an all-around teammate. He’s probably one of one of the best teammates out there.”

Mauger has looked good at training camp, held at the University of Guelph. He’s easy to find as he has a knack for being around the football. That’s been a relief for the coaching staff, who knew what Mauger could bring to the table, but admittedly had some concern when they found out Pickett was leaving.

“A little,” Fields confessed. “I think our system helps out that position. It’s a good position to be in if you’re on our team and usually you’ll make a lot of plays. We were hurt that he left, but we felt good about finding someone that can play the position here.”

They did. Mauger is a product of the football factory that is the University of Georgia. A native of Marietta in that state, he played 50 games for the Bulldogs, intercepting seven passes and being named Honourable Mention All-SEC as a sophomore. After that there were stops in the NFL, AAF, and The Spring League before finding his way to Vancouver last season where he recorded his first CFL interception against the Argos.

Now he’s wearing Double Blue and is happy to be back in the east, making games easier to get to for his family back in Georgia. A self-proclaimed foodie, Mauger was asked which foods he misses the most being away from “The Peach State.” Was it the barbeque? A good local side dish? Perhaps some good homemade biscuits and gravy?

“The Waffle House,” he replied, brushing aside all other southern delicacies. “It’s a five-star restaurant in my eyes.”

As Argonauts.ca immediately questioned his credibility as a foodie, Mauger was quick to regain his foodie cred, and explained he’s looking forward to exploring The 6ix’s culinary options.

“I’m really looking forward to finding some good Caribbean food from the Haitian community. I know there’s some great food here, so as a foodie I’m definitely going to find it.”

The Argos are just hoping that the food fanatic can feast on opposing quarterbacks this season.

ARGO NOTES: Perhaps the most impressive display on Wednesday was the punting of John Haggerty. While warming up at the beginning of practice he was kicking cross field. Making contact on one sideline, the ball was often travelling the full 65-yard width of the field, then beyond the sideline area where the benches are, and hitting the running track that circles the field. Many were in the 75–80-yard range…Janarion Grant perhaps showed a sign of things to come when he caught a punt and exploded down the sideline. His acceleration is impressive to see from field level…Dejon Brissett made the highlight catch of practice, hauling in a 35-yard pass from Cameron Dukes. It was a fade to the sideline that Brissett caught while falling, staying in bounds in the process. On the next play, Kevin Mital caught a pass on a deep post route…The team ran some no huddle and some scout, where they would simulate what Hamilton may run on Friday…At the end of practice Michael Clemons spoke to the team at midfield. It wasn’t the fiery general manager on this day, he spoke instead of the tough personnel decisions that face the team, with the final cutdown coming this weekenD.

Tickets for Friday’s final pre-season game in Guelph against Hamilton are on sale for $20 at bit.ly/3TWmNxw

If you can’t make it to the game, join your humble typist and Ben Grant for the webcast. Watch it here tomorrow at 7PM ET: bit.ly/3R63Acc