Dan's the man with the plan

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

Danny Wimprine's first start with the Stampeders is obviously making headlines here in Calgary.

It is a meaningful development, too, in his home state of Louisiana, where football fans have been following the former University of Memphis pivot's every move since his high school days.

A Calgary radio appearance earlier this week sparked a number of phone calls from Tigers faithful back home listening via the Internet. And while all eyes tonight at McMahon Stadium will be firmly planted on No. 15, TV satellite dishes in the deep south will also be searching the skies for the home-grown talent.

"Those people have been great to me and my entire family," the 24-year-old QB said yesterday after his final preparations to face the visiting Montreal Alouettes.

"They were great forming relationships with me and for those people -- their season is still going on back home -- to still be worried about my progress and how things are going is very nice to hear and see. After our season, I'm going to try to go back and visit and see one of their last games. Hopefully, they'll be playing in a bowl game and I'll try to revisit a lot of those people who still keep in contact with me."

Filling in for injured starter Jason Gesser last week against Ottawa, Wimprine completed 10-of-21 passes for 162 yards, avoided disasters while becoming the third Stamps QB to record a win this season.

That said, starting is a whole different game.

"Every day I've felt a little more comfortable," Wimprine said of his week in practice, admitting he would have trouble falling asleep last night.

"It has a lot to do with us getting on the same page in practice, same tempo, running routes. We have certain routes for certain guys ... all throughout the week we've game-planned and worked. Now I'm looking forward to the game."

Head coach Tom Higgins has been impressed with his newly minted rookie starter's composure this week, magnified by the pressure of the 7-6 team's first playoff run since 2001.

"His reaction has been nothing but outstanding, however it is a little bit different being the starter, knowing that you're going into the game," Higgins said.

"One thing we see is that he handles pressure extremely well. Coming on in relief (against Ottawa), he was fabulous. He came in like a seasoned veteran poised to take his football team to do whatever it takes. He's done that during the course of the week but the final test comes (today) and I don't think (Montreal) can do anything to rattle him.

"There's enough people around him to help him and he's been playing football long enough that he is going to be very comfortable going out and playing."

On the sidelines, Wimprine will also benefit from having No. 1 quarterback Henry Burris to lean on for advice.

"Henry helped out a lot last week and he tells me what he sees on certain plays and what he sees on defence, certain keys to watch for," Wimprine said. "It's different being on the field than being on the sidelines.

"I've been here all year, working with the receivers a little bit, I've been able to practice with them a little all season, get into the game (last week) and being able to be here before I had to go in helped out a lot."

He will help himself by heeding the coaching staff's message: Protect the football.

"That's the overall attitude of all the quarterbacks -- if we don't turn the ball over, we'll be successful," said Wimprine, whose most reliable weapon might be running back Joffrey Reynolds, who ran for 185 yards last week.

"Our defence has been playing really well, helping us out. Joffrey is a talented back too, so if we don't turn the ball over we have a chance to play with anybody and probably win. That's the case with a lot of teams. It's not what they do to you, it's how you play in the game that determines the outcome."


Videos

Photos