Dying to cut a rug

Calgary Stampeders receiver Jeremaine Copeland hasn't found the endzone in four games but is poised...

Calgary Stampeders receiver Jeremaine Copeland hasn't found the endzone in four games but is poised to break out soon. (Calgary Sun/Stuart Dryden)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Those touchdown-dance ideas are building up in Jeremaine Copeland's cranium.

Four games without a celebration is too long for a veteran receiver who is paid handsomely to score.

"Of course it's in my head," said the Calgary Stampeders wide out. "I'm a better team player than I was last year. As long as we're winning, I'm OK, as long as I'm not left out of the picture.

"But this has been on my mind. I'm still trying to say it's early in the season and we have some steps to climb. But it's in my head and whoever says it's not would be lying right now."

With the B.C. Lions visiting Friday at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., TSN), Copeland faces the man leading the league in receiving touchdowns.

Geroy Simon has hit paydirt six times in five games this season, making Copeland's one score look meagre by comparison.

Copeland last danced on the football field when he helped seal a season-opening victory against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Through the loss to Edmonton, a tight win over Hamilton, a blowout over Saskatchewan and loss to the Tiger-Cats, Copeland has let the rest of the receiving corps do the scoring, which hasn't really worked out great.

Except for the scorefest in Regina, the Stamps haven't had more than one receiving touchdown in any game.

So Copeland is taking the onus upon himself to make sure the offence consistently performs well.

If Copeland had two more TDs in the four outings -- a modest average per game -- the Stamps might have a couple more wins.

"I know I'm supposed to have a touchdown a game, without question," Copeland said.

"It's a pressure I put on myself. I don't think it really hurts me. It calms me down.

"Now it's just the matter of making the right call and making that completion in the endzone. We'll make some great plays against B.C."

The Stamps have spent plenty of time working on the deep ball in practice and, if Copeland gets man-coverage, he likes his matchup for a jump ball.

"I will likely see a lot of Mark Washington this week," Copeland said.

"I really think when it comes down to the score zone, I have the advantage over him."

In 2003, Copeland had a career year with the Montreal Alouettes, scoring 14 touchdowns on more than 1,700 yards receiving.

So although he is surrounded by talent in the form of Nik Lewis, Elijah Thurmon and Ken-Yon Rambo, Copeland is the veteran leader.

He is the part of the system that makes the engine purr, which receivers coach Bill Diedrick said sometimes doesn't show up on the scoresheet.

"Sometimes, we look at the success the other guys are having because of Jeremaine," Diedrick said. "Maybe he's moving the safety a little bit so the two guys on the back end have a chance.

"We'll find ways to isolate him and not give the Lions a chance to double him."

Asked if Copeland will score this week, Diedrick didn't mind putting some pressure on his top receiver: "I will guarantee it. Now he has to catch it."

Then we'll see some dancing.


Videos

Photos