The conductor

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

Maybe when Steve Buratto finishes his long football coaching career, the Calgary Stampeders offensive co-ordinator can enter the music industry.

He would probably be experienced enough already.

Buratto compares creating an offence and executing a game plan to writing a song. The first-year Stampeder coach has been in football so long now, he's able to churn out more top-10 hits than flops.

"When you write a song, you have a melody in mind," said Buratto. "You build it from there. You have to have the right notes fit in the right places and it has to be in the right key.

"Then you start putting the lyrics to it but you have make them fit. They might now have the right number of syllables. Then there might be a different sound. You have to put all of it together so it flows."

Buratto has spent 21 years coaching in the CFL in various positions. Offence is what suits him best because he can create a theme by dictating the highs and lows of a football game.

There's certain points to change tempo -- call a trick play -- and other times when the main goal is to lull the defence into a false sense of security by calling effective running plays.

Every play that gets called in a game is designed, manipulated and staffed so that it rings true. When the system works, it's like music to Buratto's ears.

"It has to lead into a natural progression," said Buratto, who also coaches the offensive line for the Stamps. "Our plays have to take advantage of the skills our athletes have but also gives them a chance to do the things they do best most often."

To make sure everything gets just right, Buratto arrives at the McMahon Stadium offices at about 4:30 a.m. every morning.

He starts by reviewing game film and picking plays from the repertoire that best suits the opposition's defence.

He'll continue by making up a list of plays the scout-team defence will throw at quarterback Henry Burris and his teammates.

Once Buratto has the game plan drawn up, he sends his assistants out to make sure the personnel can run it. In the CFL, Buratto can throw the defence off by changing players and moving them around along the line of scrimmage.

"It has to be in a way that it puts the defence into the least advantageous position to figure out what we're trying to do," Buratto said.

"It doesn't vary dramatically in terms of volume but there's always a way to come up with a grouping of formation that puts the defence in a tough situation. It's a lot easier in the CFL than the other game, because you accomplish a lot by moving people around.

"If they're trying to chase individuals, you can create a lot of indecision on the part of the defence.

"You can make it hard to figure out who should cover who."

And that sounds like a sweet song lyric as well.


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