Just turn and run

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

No Stampeders player is more relieved than Joffrey Reynolds to see Edmonton disappearing in the rear-view mirror.

On the horizon, Hamilton. While the Ontario burg doesn't conjure up images of an enjoyable getaway destination, the hard-nosed running back just can't wait to touch down in Steeltown.

Although Reynolds boasts the second-best numbers among CFL rushers this season, the Eskimos -- tops in the league in stopping the run -- limited his production in back-to-back contests to 22 yards on 18 carries while his season average has plummeted from 6.5 yards to just 5.7 per carry.

On the other hand, the 2005 Ticats have been most accommodating against the ground game, with their defence allowing 121 yards per contest, twice as much as the Stampeders' provincial rivals.

As offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto points out, everyone in the Red and White offence is ready to run against some new faces.

"The last couple of weeks we've run into good run defences and the other thing is we're not coming off the ball as well as we should up front," said Buratto, who also had to watch Reynolds manoeuvre on soggy turf in Edmonton. "Because of that, Joffrey's been trying to pick his way through there, bouncing around. There really aren't any real great running lanes so we have to knock the guys off the ball up front and Joffrey's got to be decisive about where he goes.

"He had a couple of chances against Edmonton and made bad decision about where to run the ball. We're not executing as crisply there as we have been."

Reynolds agrees running up against the Green and Gold defence provided a frustrating lesson for the offence, one he hopes to turn around tomorrow in Hamilton. Add to the mix the fact Stampeders quarterback Jason Gesser is making his first CFL start and there could very well be an added emphasis on the ground game this week.

"Edmonton had a really good scheme and a good front four," said Reynolds, pointing out at least one Eskimos defender was assigned to him on every play. "They had one or two guys spying me everywhere I went. Now we've got a couple of plays in where they can't scheme us as well as Edmonton did.

"It was a combination of me trying to make big plays when there was really nothing there instead of just plugging up there and taking three yards. When there's more people than you can block, that's all you can get."


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