It's time to light it up

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

McMahon Stadium staff are turning the lights on tonight, so the Calgary Stampeders coaching staff wants to see which players will do the same.

Two weeks of practices have given everyone a chance to look good but now there is a real opponent to worry about.

The difference between making the team and getting cut could be determined by who shows up with their best effort in tonight's pre-season game against the Edmonton Eskimos (7:30 p.m., QR77).

Two seasons ago, Cornelius Anthony went through his first CFL training camp relatively quietly before stepping in and sacking Dave Dickenson in a pre-season game.

The short performance meant he stuck around the entire season in development on the injured list. He's still here but again needs to make the most of his time on the field to win a job in a deep linebacking crew.

"You can be a practice warrior but I've been on a lot of teams where guys get stage fright," said Anthony, who is working at inside linebacker.

"You would think it's two totally different people from practice to the game. There's also some sleepers in practice that just light up when it's game time.

"That's what the coaches are looking for. This is a crucial part of the evaluation time, turn it on when the lights come on. Nobody remember practices after they see some stats from games."

Every player except for placekicker will be contested tonight, so Sandro DeAngelis can rest a little easier.

Linebacker is one of the positions that will cause the toughest decisions for Stampeders coaches because there are several players who can fills those four roles.

The spot is so deep that second-year Stampeder Khalid Abdullah was released Wednesday with little consequence.

One player head coach Tom Higgins advises fans to watch is No. 34 Tony Bua.

The Arkansas product is anxious to hit someone and had to be restrained during camp practices. He could be someone who turns it up on game day.

"Tony is a guy we had to explain that we don't play the Red and White," Higgins said. "He goes from point A to point B really well and, at point B, he likes to blow it up.

"We're going to let him loose and tell him there is no more holding back."

Higgins said the most interesting thing to watch will be the raw rookies and how they adjust to the increased level of speed.

He pointed to Canadian fullbacks Gerald Commissiong and Rob Cote as good examples.

"I would like to see the game through their eyes because nothing prepares you for what they are going to experience," Higgins said.


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