Coach argues Stamps better than a year ago

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders, 3-3, are right where they were a year ago. Or are they?

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto takes exception to suggestions the club's record through six games indicates the team is no better than it was at this juncture in 2005.

"Take a look at (all CFL) teams, the teams are a hell of a lot better," Buratto argued.

"During the years when there were eight teams in the league, look at the records. The last two years there were eight teams in the league (2000 and 2001), a team winning eight games won the Grey Cup. With just eight teams, it's a whole different deal. You play everybody more often and the talent base gets spread across."

That would seem to be the case with Saskatchewan, which stocked up with QB Kerry Joseph and receiver Jason Armstead when Ottawa folded during the off-season.

Buratto knows all about sub-.500 clubs winning the Grey Cup. He coached the 2000 B.C. Lions team that was 8-10 but upset Calgary in the West final before claiming the CFL's top prize.

BREAK THROUGH: B.C. Lions running back Joe Smith picked a good night for his CFL debut, rushing 16 times for 138 yards while also catching four balls for 26 yards.

A three-TD performance was a solid night for Antonio Warren's replacement but his 66-yard TD run in the fourth quarter provided the decisive blow.

"It was just the one long play," said Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan, who missed injured linebacker Brian Clark (hamstring).

"They popped a couple of long sweeps for eight, nine yards but that's going to happen in a game. It's the one long one that makes us look bad. I could have lived with anything that happened but that one long gain (angered) me to no end."

The 6-ft. 2-in. Smith, who impressed during his time in NFL Europe, made it a tough night on Stamps tacklers.

On his lengthy TD run, Smith crashed through the Stamps d-line, then ran past halfback Jermaine Chatman, who was unable to corral the burly back.

"He's a big guy but that's what you get paid to do, make tackles," Creehan said.

"We missed him at the line of scrimmage and then (Chatman) missed him, then he was out of the gate."

Clark, who was replaced by backup Cornelius Anthony, could be back in the lineup this week.

RECEIVER HURTING: Receiver Ken-Yon Rambo (right ankle) could be out of the lineup Saturday in Regina. He re-aggravated the week-old injury on a second-quarter reception and fumble.


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