Somewhere between Jeremaine Copeland trash talking the defensive backs and junior player John Kanaroski making a nice grab, Anthony Malbrough's adrenalin started flowing.
The Calgary Stampeders defensive halfback sat out of training camp Day 4 yesterday with a hamstring pull and wished he could have responded to the situation.
Quarterback Henry Burris connected with Copeland several times on nice plays but the free-agent receiver turned up the gloating after Calgary Colt Kanaroski hauled one in from Jason Gesser.
Malbrough, who also signed as a high-priority free agent this off-season, was reduced to coaxing better plays out of his secondary teammates.
These one-on-one drills are crucial for the coaches to evaluate the talent. Although Malbrough is missing the action, he's not worried.
"For a rookie, it would be a bad time to be out but I know my position," said the 29-year-old. "It's not too bad for me. If I was a rookie, it would probably be a big deal. The coaches know what I can do."
Still, Malbrough would prefer to be on the field, even for the two-a-day practice grind on McMahon Stadium's artificial turf.
By all accounts, all five secondary positions are open to the best performers in camp, although Malbrough would seem to be a lock at halfback. Despite the competition that's brewing, Malbrough said the unit is preaching teamwork first.
"We have guys feeling out their roles and how they can help the team," said the four-year veteran who played with the Stamps in 2002-03. "From the secondary standpoint, we talk, we help each other."
It was the same attitude the Texas Tech product employed while with Ottawa last season. The Renegades were strong in training camp, then opened with three straight wins.
But Malbrough doesn't expect the Stamps to go into freefall like the 'Gades did, losing eight of the following nine games.
"There's a lot of positive signs here," he said. "We don't have a lot of individuality. Nobody thinks they're a star. Teams can't win like that."
HOARSE PLAY: Four days of two-a-day practices and Stamps coach Tom Higgins's voice is shot. The head coach is barely above a whisper now.
"There's no way to prepare for it. You need to project your voice on the football field and it takes a toll on the voice," Higgins said quietly, adding it's not because of the Stampeders' poor play. "No way, this is a motivated group."
EXTRA POINTS: The Stamps signed non-import LB Sebastien Roy ... Edmonton signed OL Joe McGrath to a contract extension yesterday. The non-import was snatched off the Stamps' practice roster last season and was playing out his option year ... Ottawa signed import OL Mike Homewood, who's been with the team on and off since 2002 ... Former national team bobsledder Giulio Zardo left the Edmonton's training camp yesterday and headed home to Montreal for undisclosed personal reasons. His status with the club is unclear.