Hank getting feet wet

DAN TOTH, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

The numbers suggest Henry Burris was in mid-season form Friday night against Hamilton.

His 18 completions for 221 yards, three TDs and no turnovers is a pristine line on the final stats page but, in reality, the Stampeders quarterback said the contest felt like the season opener.

"It did, actually," smiled Burris after yesterday's rundown in the wake of the Red and White's 34-17 win over the Tabbies.

"For some reason, it felt like training camp all over again, getting back into the swing of things. In practice, I even felt like I had a little rust that I had to get rid of, getting my timing back with the guys."

Burris's guys -- receivers Jeremaine Copeland, Ken-Yon Rambo and Nik Lewis -- all made great catches in helping ease their No. 1 pivot back into the lineup after three weeks on the sidelines with torn ligaments in his left (non-throwing) hand.

Burris was also quick to pass around the credit to his receiving trio for their performance that included a number of unfortunate receptions in heavy traffic. All three endured hard hits when "hung out to dry" by their apologetic passer.

"Guys all across the board made some good catches, great plays for us," Burris said.

"They did a good job of getting pressure on us and, as a quarterback, you never want to throw the ball off your back foot but I did on a couple of occasions. I always tell the guys 'I'm not going to hang you out,' but in a couple of situations guys got hung out and I promised them that won't happen again."

Quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick said Burris profited from spending the last three weeks wearing headphones, listening to the coaches on the sidelines with backups Jason Gesser, Danny Wimprine and Josh Harris at the controls.

Diedrick feels Burris also enjoyed the benefits of allowing his throwing arm to rest.

"You could just tell that he was getting back into the feel of the game and was a lot more decisive in the second part of the game and threw the ball better in the second half, too," Diedrick said.

"The break paid off for him, too. Any time mid-season you get a break like that helps the arm recover.

"The three weeks he was off I felt it was beneficial for him to be on the headset and listen. You get to hear from the coaches in meetings but, to actually (hear it) during the game as you see it, was very beneficial."

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MAXIE-MUM EFFORT: Defensive end Demetrious Maxie, out more than a month with a broken leg, said he felt comfortable in his first game back Friday night in which he recorded one tackle while rotating with Terrence Patrick.

"It felt good at first but as the game progressed it got a little tender," Maxie said.

"I ended up finishing the game and I got a couple of plays in and I didn't hurt the team and that was my main focus."

"The bone has healed. There's just the tenderness of stretching the ligaments out again."

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SHORT YARDAGE: With Henry Burris's left hand still in a cast, the Stampeders choose to insert backup Josh Harris to run the QB sneak on third and short.

Despite a lack of success -- Harris was stopped twice at the Hamilton one-yardline and fumbled once -- head coach Tom Higgins is sticking with the strategy.

"It's still the right thing to do because you don't want to be going backwards (on a handoff) to go forward, that's why you use the quarterback sneak and they did a nice job of stopping us," Higgins said.

"Putting Josh in is still the right thing to do because it's not easy for Henry to do with a cast on, trying to squeeze the ball to get that one yard."

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ONE CASUALTY: Jamie Crysdale's knee injury, which will require arthroscopic surgery as reported in yesterday's Sun, is the only serious wound from Friday's game.

"Jamie's the only serious one, everything else is just the usual bumps and bruises," Higgins said.

Return specialist Terrence Wilkins, who had his left knee scoped two weeks ago, expects to return to the lineup for the Winnipeg game Oct. 30.


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