Burris prepares for game against Esks

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

Henry Burris is now off the potty. But he has no intention of getting on the horse.

That's the key, says the Calgary Stampeder quarterback, who has successfully managed to get off the pot and declare himself ready to go in the spit-or-get-off-the-pot game.

The horse in question isn't the one that gallops around the field after every Calgary touchdown. It's the high horse.

"Right now we don't want to get high on the horse or anything," says Burris.

The QB, who has spent most of the week on the toilet with food poisoning-type symptoms, missed the first two days of practice. But he took all the reps yesterday and has Stampeder fans breathing normally again.

Burris, however, scoffs at the theory that the Stampeders can't possibly play any better than the 43-23 Stampeder win here last Sunday, which gave Calgary home-field advantage in the semifinal and punted Edmonton from first place to third.

'ESKIMO KILLER'

"Last week we were on fire. But we didn't play our best game," said the 'Eskimo killer' who last year, as a Saskatchewan Roughrider, beat Edmonton in the West semifinal in Commonwealth Stadium.

"We still have plays in our game plan we didn't run. We really only ran 12 to 15 plays. If things are working, why fix it?" said Burris, who ran up 43 points against the No. 1-ranked defence in the CFL.

"We weren't even anywhere near being as great as we can be," said receiver Jeremaine Copeland. "We really think we can be a lot better. We haven't even seen how good we can be. We don't know how good we can be. We do know that last week was nowhere near as good as we can be.

"We started the year as underdogs. Nobody believed in us except us. It's fabulous right now to be part of this team."

Burris says he knows it'll be a tough team coming down from the north this weekend.

"We know they'll make adjustments. They'll put in a few new wrinkles here and there. We'll have a few new things to confuse them. This is a playoff game now. You can't hold anything back in your arsenal."

Another theory that the Stampeders were tackling yesterday is the idea that all the pressure, now that they have home-field advantage, is now on the Stampeders.

"The pressure is on us? I don't believe that, one iota," said head coach Tom Higgins. "The pressure is on whoever thinks the pressure is on them."

All you have to do is read the newspapers in the two towns to figure out the heat is on the Eskimos.

"It's them against the world. Nobody thinks they're going to win," says Burris. "If we think that way they'll put it to us.''

Higgins also laughs at the idea that home-field advantage puts pressure on Calgary.

"Home-field is the advantage. We're a relaxed group, a confident group. We've been very successful against them recently.''

Edmonton will make adjustments but Higgins knows the Eskimos as well as the Eskimos know the Eskimos. "How many adjustments can be made? Our offence has thrown so many wrinkles at our own defence since the start of training camp that unless they put extra people on the field ... that's the only way.''

Burris doesn't figure the pressure will consume the Eskimos.

"Edmonton is under a lot of pressure. But Ricky Ray is a pro. He's a veteran on a team of veterans. They'll come down here and play like veterans."

NOTHING CHANGES

And he doesn't think anything changes with the Stampeders because this is now a playoff game.

"We've been in a playoff mode for the last five games. We haven't looked past the next game and we're not looking past it now. We haven't got our hopes too big."

Higgins says he's convinced his players still have their helmets screwed on straight despite the 20-point margin last weekend.

"We've talked a lot about not wanting to chase ghosts. That's the challenge. Our challenge has been not to be celebrating."

Higgins said the Stamps spent the week realizing that they didn't beat the Esks as bad as the scoreboard suggested.

"It appeared to be very lopsided. It was like the Grey Cup in Edmonton. We won that game in the statistics but Montreal made the big plays," said the coach who became the ex-Eskimos coach when he lost this game last year.

"What it comes down to now is who believes."

The Stampeders, clearly, believe.


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