Reynolds feels responsible for semifinal loss

DAN TOTH, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

Joffrey Reynolds would love to turn back the clock and replay the 2005 CFL West semifinal.

The tailback's two fumbles -- just part of the Calgary Stampeders' six-turnover collapse in a 33-26 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos -- is a performance he'd quickly line up to rectify.

With that fateful day now indelibly hammered into the CFL record books, Reynolds will have to settle for correcting his mistakes and moving on.

The first opportunity comes tonight at McMahon Stadium against those same Esks (6 p.m.) -- fate's way of forcing Reynolds to dredge up that frustrating night.

"When you're in a playoff game, it's win or go home and I definitely had my hand in why we didn't go any further," said Reynolds, who otherwise enjoyed a solid outing with 12 carries for 83 yards and one TD.

"But now it's a brand new season and dwelling on that or trying to make up for that, that's not really my mind set. It's a new season and I just want to win the first game and eventually get back to the playoffs in '06."

Reynolds will play a significant role in carrying the Stampeders there, having rushed for 1,437 yards last season, good for second in the CFL.

He fumbled away the ball just four times in the 2005 regular season, making his two playoff gaffes even more glaring.

At training camp, the Stampeders paid extra attention to ball control and correcting minor flaws in Reynolds' technique to help him hold onto the pigskin.

"We've made a point of just keeping the ball high and tight when you get in traffic," Reynolds explained.

"You have to always keep it close to your body. Before the playoff game, I think I lost only one fumble or whatever. So this year we looked at film to try to enhance some of the techniques of carrying the ball.

"No major overhauls. I've been carrying the ball a long time. It's about paying attention to detail."

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto said preventing fumbles can be achieved by limiting the opposing defence's opportunity to strip the ball.

"You get kind of lazy and get the ball down in your wrist and get your arm away from your body and you make it susceptible to fumbles," Buratto said.

"A couple of guys came up from behind him and took the ball out of there. He did a real good job of that in camp, of keeping the focus on that, and he's responded very well."

Adding to the Stampeders' ground arsenal is the return of David Allen. He spent the last four games of the 2005 regular season in Red and White before being released to chase his NFL dream. Allen is back for the entire 2006 campaign, an addition Buratto feels will diversify the Stampeders rushing attack.

"David's got some different skills, so it's going to allow us to stretch their defence in a little different way than we could last year because he is so versatile," Buratto said.

"He's a good enough receiver to beat DBs, so if we can get him matched up on linebackers ... he gives us a couple more arrows in the quiver that we can use."


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