Jeff Pilon has seen enough glossed-over gazes from ill-prepared, unqualified QBs the past few seasons to take note of a confident, competent pivot.
That's what he sees when the offence huddles with newly minted Stamps' starter Jason Gesser, prepping for his first CFL start Saturday in Hamilton.
"Without a doubt, you can tell right away as soon as they come in," says Pilon, in his sixth season on the Stamps o-line.
"You can tell if they're a fiery kind of guy who's going to grab the team and get 'em going. You can see it by the way they talk, their whole body language. You can just see it."
The offence's confidence is something Gesser has already started developing after completing three consecutive passes for a TD in a 16-11 win Friday in Edmonton. The team's faith has continued to build the last two days with Gesser taking first-string reps in practice when it became evident starter Henry Burris would be out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his non-throwing hand.
"You have to go out there and play good ball and that's when everybody gains confidence in you," says Gesser, 27.
"You can't just talk a good game, say a bunch of things for everybody to get confidence in you. You have to go out there and show it and lead by example. I lead by example a lot, go out there and do what I've got to do and hopefully the guys feed off of me."
It's the sort of approach that allowed Gesser to post college numbers that rank him among the best QBs to play at Washington State, a school whose alumni includes the likes of Drew Bledsoe. Gesser became the first WSU player to record two 3,000-plus yard passing seasons (2001-02)
Gesser hasn't started a game since leading Washington State to the 2003 Rose Bowl when he played despite a sprained right ankle and damaged knee.
"I've started a lot of games in my career and I can get back into the flow of things pretty easy," says Gesser, who also spent time on the practice roster of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
"Getting the reps helps me out a lot. I just need to not change my game at all, get the ball in the hands of my receivers and let them make big plays."
Quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick says Gesser's recipe for success this week and beyond involves doing three things well.
"The same thing he did in the four-play series he had last week in Edmonton -- go in, stay calm, poised and execute the offence," says Diedrick.
"The thing I like now is he's got a number of playmakers and you don't have to make every play yourself. Make good decisions, take care of the football and allow your playmakers to make plays."
The Stampeders are also attempting to sign Josh Harris, selected by Baltimore in the 2004 NFL draft, to add QB depth in time for Saturday's game.