Joffrey holds key to Smith's success

Calgary Stampeders QB, Akili Smith, was in a good mood during practice as he will be taking the...

Calgary Stampeders QB, Akili Smith, was in a good mood during practice as he will be taking the helm against the Roughies Monday afternoon. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/SUN MEDIA)

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

All 91 of his yards last week were gained by running into the teeth of a defence stacked against him.

With Akili Smith making his first CFL start, everyone in B.C. Place Stadium knew Joffrey Reynolds would be getting the majority of the work and the B.C. Lions made him earn his money.

Nothing should really change for Reynolds as the Calgary Stampeders face the Saskatchewan Roughriders today at McMahon Stadium.

Smith is again starting. The Stamps will once again want to establish the run game. The Roughriders defence knows it.

And the last time these teams met, Reynolds ran for a season-high 154 yards on 23 carries.

"They have playmakers across the board offensively, but we really have to play well against the run," said 'Riders head coach Kent Austin.

"We need to win first-and-10 to have a chance. We need to put this team in second and long a lot to have an opportunity to win.

"If we don't do that, we won't win the game."

Even when the Stamps were in a deficit to the Lions last week, they stuck to the running game, giving Reynolds 20 carries.

But when Smith went out with a groin injury, the Lions just stacked the box. Reynolds could do nothing but pound his body into three defenders on most plays.

"When Akili was in the game, we were able to throw the ball down the field," Reynolds said.

"Once he went down, the defence just took a step forward towards the line. When we didn't have that threat, it was a lot tougher. This week will be different with him hopefully healthy the entire time."

Against Montreal earlier this season, Reynolds had a career-low four carries. He came back from that road trip asking for the ball.

Careful what you wish for.

"This is the way I want it," Reynolds said. "But we also have to get it where the defence is thinking about getting burned by some deep passes.

"If you can burn them on the other end, that makes those five-, six- and seven-yard carries a lot longer. Akili gives us the best option to do that."

Calgary's offence exploded against the Roughriders three weeks ago at McMahon Stadium, but in that game Henry Burris was the quarterback for the home side and Saskatchewan was without veteran halfback Eddie Davis.

Davis gets activated off the nine-game injured list, and although he's in the secondary, he expect to keep an eye on Reynolds as well.

"The last time we played against him, he ripped us up," Davis said. "We know they will use him quite often. We have to let our front seven take care of him, and when we're needed, the DBs have to come off the edge and make that tackle.

"A lot of times we had DBs come up and not be able to make that tackle on Joffrey."


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