Posted by: Jeremy | September 2, 2009

One-on-one with Zeke Moreno


Moreno led the CFL in defensive tackles in 2007 and 2008

Moreno led the CFL in defensive tackles in 2007 and 2008

You don’t have to remind Zeke Moreno of the rivalry between the Argos and Ti-Cats. The linebacker spent 2007 and half of last season in Hamilton before being traded to Winnipeg in September and then again to Toronto in February. Moreno led the CFL in defensive tackles each of the past two seasons, recording 114 in 2007 and 97 in 2008. This season, the 30-year-old leads the Argos with 38 tackles and shares the team-lead with two interceptions. I spoke with Moreno about the importance of Toronto’s next two games against Hamilton, beginning Labour Day (September 7) at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Q: You’ve been on both sides of the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry. Is Monday just another game or is the intensity level higher?

Moreno: There is extra incentive — it’s a big game. For some reason there’s a big rivalry going on between Toronto and Hamilton. I’ve been on both fields and seen it from both perspectives, and ultimately people want to come out and have a good time and cheer for their team. As a player, it’s exciting. It’s one of those things — the Battle of the Lake, you could call it. It’s going to be fun.

Q: Last year you were with Hamilton, but got traded to Winnipeg just after Labour Day. Any hard feelings toward the Tiger-Cats, or is it just part of the business?

Moreno: Any hard feelings were set aside last year. This is a new year. I have no feelings about them — it’s not bringing any extra adrenaline to the game. It’s just fun and exciting facing your old teammates. You face them so long in camp and in practices, and now you’re on the opposite side of the field.

Q: You didn’t spend too much time with Arland Bruce III in Toronto, but what are your thoughts on facing him as a Ti-Cat?

Moreno: He’s a great weapon — he and Prechae Rodriguez pose quite a double-threat. He has made a quick statement, catching a lot of balls and a lot of touchdown passes. It’ll be exciting for him. I was in that situation last year after being traded to Winnipeg, and it’s always fun to play your former teammates. At the same time, we’ll be prepared and do our part to contain him.

Zekeing and Destroying, as they say

Moreno has been on both sides of the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry

Q: The defense has played strong early the past two games but struggled late. What’s the key to closing out games and getting wins?

Moreno: It’s just a matter of staying hungry and not getting too conservative. It’s hard to pinpoint it, but we lost that edge — it just wasn’t there in the fourth quarter. We started playing on our heels, and it wasn’t the same.

Q: It’s still relatively earlier in the season. What does this team have to do to get over the hump and make a playoff push?

Moreno: First, we have to take care of the Hamilton games. Being a back-to-back, I think it’s good. It’s a team we’ve faced (Toronto won the season opener 30-17 at Ivor Wynne Stadium) and we’re confident, but nothing is going to come easy. We’ve been a strong-starting team, but defensively our struggle has been the fourth quarter. Hopefully we can get over that hump and get a couple wins.

Q: Sticking with the rivalry theme, you’re a USC guy and Justin Medlock is out of UCLA. With the NCAA season starting up, is there any friendly trash-talk going on?

Moreno: Well he know’s we’re a better team, so there’s not much. I don’t think the Bruins could give USC much competition, so I don’t think he’s putting much money down. He’s confident they’ll do well this year, but he knows they have no shot against the Trojans. When it comes down to game time though, there might be some friendly bets.

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