Spotting 'em six not in game plan

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

Kickoff time is almost irrelevant to the Calgary Stampeders' defence.

Calgary defenders seemingly haven't been showing up to play until at least five minutes into recent games.

In five of the last seven contests, the opposition's offence has scored on its first possession of the game.

Four of those times, the Stamps have allowed touchdowns, including in last week's win over the Edmonton Eskimos.

"We're playing possum. We want them to score and get a false sense of hope," said linebacker Brian Clark with a chuckle.

"We call our plays and try to figure out what they're doing. It just so happens we get penalties, give up yards on catches and whatnot. It's just one of those weird things that we don't know how to put our fingers on."

The weird thing is, the Stamps have won the last four times they've surrendered a touchdown on the opposition's opening drive.

So maybe the key to winning tomorrow's West semifinal against the Eskimos at McMahon Stadium (4 p.m., CBC-TV, QR77) is laying down and allowing an easy major.

"It's been a good omen because we usually win the game," said Clark, who calls the defensive plays. "We don't want to give up the first score but, for whatever reason, it happens. We go to the sidelines and regroup."

Football is a chess game and once defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan sees his counterpart's moves, a strategy evolves.

Rarely does the team panic when it gets down by a quick major. In those last four games when the Stamps have allowed a first-drive touchdown, their opponent doesn't get another offensive score in the quarter.

Linebacker Scott Coe said getting burned early brings out the best in the defensive unit.

"I don't know if it somehow wakes us up," Coe said. "It's not a good thing. You don't want to give up a touchdown on the first drive because people think you are rolling over. It seems to wake us up and give us a slap in the face.

"The way we do it, the first couple of drives give us an indication of what they'll do. It seems like the first one lets us see what's in their game plan. We play a lot better after that. Trust me, it's no strategy. It seems to be working."

- - -

FIRST DEFENCE

Here's how the Calgary Stampeders' defence fared this season during the opposition's first drive of the game:

             

Date Opponent Opp result

July 1 Vs Tor Punt

July 7 At Wpg Blocked punt

July 16 At Ott Missed FG

July 23 Vs Sask Punt

July 29 At B.C. Punt

Aug. 6 Vs Wpg Missed FG

Aug. 12 Vs B.C. Punt

Aug. 18 At Mtl Touchdown

Aug. 24 At Tor Fumble

Sept. 5 Vs Edm Punt

Sept. 9 At Edm Punt

Sept. 17 At Ham Touchdown

Sept. 22 Vs Ott Touchdown

Oct. 1 Vs Mtl Field goal

Oct. 14 Vs Ham Punt

Oct. 23 At Sask Punt

Oct. 30 At Wpg Touchdown

Nov. 6 Vs Edm Touchdown


Videos

Photos