Rookie thrown into fire

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

Stampeders rookie offensive lineman Godfrey Ellis expects to receive his CFL trial by fire Thursday night in Winnipeg.

The 2005 second-round draft pick out of Acadia, one of three offensive linemen selected by the Stamps, will get his first start at left tackle in place of non-import Alexandre Gauthier.

Gauthier suffered a right shoulder separation in the loss to Toronto.

Ellis believes he's ready to fill in after replacing Gauthier for most of the second half Friday night.

"Oh yeah, you can't say 'no' to that question," Ellis, 23, said yesterday.

"I think I'm as ready as I can be now."

Ellis will be entrusted with protecting starting quarterback Henry Burris's blindside against a Winnipeg defensive line that last week applied plenty of heat on Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray, sacking him twice.

"It is a special assignment but I never back down from a challenge, I just look forward to it," Ellis said. "On a veteran offensive line, especially with Jay McNeil playing next to me (at left guard), has helped me out a lot. Coach (Steve) Buratto has helped me out, too. I'll be prepared to go in."

Buratto said Ellis's performance against the Argos is proof the rookie is ready.

After lining up in Gauthier's position, the Argos defence immediately tried taking advantage of the raw rookie.

"Playing against the Argonauts is a much tougher chore than playing against Winnipeg will be if just from the standpoint of the number of things you need to deal with," Buratto said.

"The style of defence the Argos play makes it more difficult to figure out who to block, who's coming and the assignment part of it.

"Godfrey's a good football player despite his lack of years playing the game, he's very bright and he's learned it and has a great deal of athletic skill.

"We didn't miss a beat with him in there. They tried right off the bat to go after him, ran a couple of stunts to try to confuse him and he picked them up and blocked the guys."

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STRONG RUNNING: Although the Stamps passing game disappointed against the Argos, running back Joffrey Reynolds lived up to expectations. Reynolds rushed 15 times for 107 yards for a 7.1-yard average.

Said Buratto: "I'm very pleased with the way the guys up front blocked and Joffrey Reynolds is the real McCoy.

"He can run. We got a body on a body and made them make arm tackles and Joffrey got a lot of yards after that first arm tackle. It's a credit to how well the guys are blocking and to how effective he is as a runner."

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NO SPAT OVER SPIT: Head coach Tom Higgins doesn't expect further ramifications after accusations DE Rahim Abdullah spit on Argos receiver Robert Baker.

"It's a done deal and it's a shame it was even brought up," Higgins said. "At least now I know what player was accused because I didn't even know that after the football game."

Higgins said any player spitting on an opponent should be immediately ejected.

Abdullah wasn't penalized on the play.

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INJURY TRAIL: LB George White and CB Ben Kelly both suffered hamstring injuries but should play in Winnipeg.


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