Hank's still the guy

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Tom Higgins understands the frustration being spouted around Calgary watercoolers this morning.

It's also happening just outside his office in the Calgary Stampeders headquarters at McMahon Stadium.

But following another turnover-laden performance Saturday against the B.C. Lions, led by starting quarterback Henry Burris, Higgins is doing the only thing he can: Back his No. 1 man.

Burris threw two interceptions and fumbled twice as the Stamps lost 32-27 to the unbeaten Lions Saturday at home but Higgins quickly reassured everyone he is sticking with his choice at QB for the immediate future.

"Right now, Henry is our best chance to win," Higgins said yesterday. "But Henry has to play with the mindset of carrying the football and not letting anyone take it away from him.

"When he does throw it, he has to make good decisions. All great quarterbacks get passes deflected and intercepted. That's part of the game. We have to win the turnover battle."

The storyline from the loss that dropped the Stamps to 2-3 is getting old because it happens nearly every time they lose.

Turnovers and penalties -- those little mental mistakes -- killed any chance of beating a B.C. team that was ripe for the picking.

The Lions had up to four starters out and were using third-string quarterback Jarious Jackson but Burris and the Stamps kept making mistakes in the second half.

First came a blocked field goal by B.C.'s Cameron Wake, then Burris threw an interception in the endzone at the end of the long drive. Both ended up in touchdowns for the Lions.

Some are calling for a change at quarterback, but Higgins said it would be a mistake to throw Akili Smith into the fire.

"(At) what time do you say enough is enough?" Higgins asked. "We're not there.

"Our quarterback is Henry Burris and our No. 2 is Akili Smith. The challenge, too, is we feel we have a good second to come in, but this game is a lot different and we have to ask if he's ready for prime time.

"We're not afraid to make choices and changes, but only when it's right for us.

"It's driving everybody crazy in this city. We have to find a way to be better or else we will wallow in mediocrity. It really would be a shame because we feel we're making strides in some areas."

After this latest performance, Burris is again accepting the blame and saying how he needs to cut out the little mistakes, which is familiar talk.

What's frustrating everyone about Burris is he can still do incredible things on the field. Even Saturday night, he threw two touchdown passes, including a beauty to Jeremaine Copeland, plus ran for another score.

But when he makes a mistake, it snowballs and hurts the team.

"I'm tired of going through the same old stuff," Burris said. "It's got to stop. It's not that the guys don't care because they do and they're trying hard."


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