Cortez in command

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

What's old is new again.

With offensive co-ordinator George Cortez, the architect of some of the most prolific offences in Stampeder history, back in the fold, there's a sense of familiarity down at McMahon Stadium.

Maybe even a sense of calm.

Or, maybe not.

"Calm?" said offensive lineman Jeff Pilon. "I've never heard 'calm' and 'Cortez' in the same sentence. He's a fiery guy and he expects the best.

"Confidence is probably the better way to put it. George has a history of developing great quarterbacks and receivers.

"In that aspect, it's great because you know what you're going to get. You're going to get perfection and that's what George expects."

Fellow o-lineman Jay McNeil said the club's offensive co-ordinator, back after a five-year hiatus, inspires confidence.

"My experience with him goes a long ways back," says McNeil, who had Cortez as his offensive line coach in his rookie season in 1994.

"George and I have a great relationship but, more importantly, you can see how confident (quarterback ) Henry (Burris) is with him. And when you see that in Henry's eyes, it brings confidence to the rest of the group."

Burris, who also started his career under Cortez, said the veteran coach knows when to keep the mood light and when to lower the boom.

"Training camp is a time to get work done but when we're not engaged in battle, we can share a few laughs here and there," Burris said. "He keeps guys focused and he tests that sometimes. He yells at them just to see if they can handle the pressure.

"George is doing a fantastic job, not only with me but all the guys. He has come into meetings and told guys just to relax. We need to have fun and that's the whole point about our offence this year. It opens up a feeling we've been waiting to have.

"We just get to go out there, relax and play. We won't even need to think about things in a while. Once we get over that threshold of playing instead of thinking about it, that's the ultimate level we can reach."

Cortez is known for his stories. He revels in the history of the league and its players.

Receiver Marc Boerigter is amazed at the O.C.'s ability to retain information.

"He has a wealth of -- I don't want to say useless -- but knowledge," Boerigter said.

Cortez says he's had a ball during training camp.

"I told my wife last night it was good to have new guys because none of them have heard my stories," he says.

"You have to have some fun because it's hard work. They have to understand, too, it's work mixed in with some fun."


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