Dickenson eyes pivotal role

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

Dave Dickenson knows where he sits on the Calgary Stampeders depth chart.

The veteran quarterback is well aware Henry Burris is the main man behind centre and he's the backup.

Dickenson knows he'll be a sounding board and guiding hand for the Stampeders No.-1 pivot.

By no means, though, does Dickenson see his value limited to just those mentoring roles.

"Well, I want to be a player first. I haven't officially retired," Dickenson said yesterday. "One thing I can do is keep everybody on the same page, potentially deflect some of the sideline talk and keep Henry focused on what he needs to do.

"But you never know in football. Certain games, if you decide to take one off and not be prepared, that's the game you're going to be in right away."

With Dickenson in the fold, the Stampeders are in the strongest position they've been in years when it comes to quarterbacks. The past couple of seasons, the club really didn't have a QB to turn to if Burris couldn't go.

(The few years before that, you can't really say they even had a legitimate No.-1 quarterback.)

Burris could very well be the CFL's most outstanding player, but with Dickenson, the club has a reliable and proven man to take the helm should Burris falter or be injured.

"Dave still wants to play, and I have full confidence when he gets on the field," said GM/head coach John Hufnagel. "He has the fire, that's why he's here and that's why I signed him, not to be another coach.

"He's a player."

Burris, Dickenson's in 1999, doesn't seem to be looking over his shoulder.

"The thing Dave brings to our team is that added expertise, that added experience on the field," he said. "When we're on the sidelines communicating, he's gonna be an extra set of eyes just like a Danny McManus, but the difference is Dave's played in this offence before."

Of course, you know the words "quarterback controversy" will come into play some time this season.

Just the thought of it made Hufnagel bristle, and immediately nip it in the bud.

"I don't even see or smell or think there's a controversy," Hufnagel said. "There's nothing that I ever said -- and believe me, the only thing that's important is what I think and say -- as far as the quarterback situation is concerned and I don't think there's a controversy.

"Now, obviously, when there's a game and the fans are doing what they do because they're fans, well that's what the game's all about also."

Dickenson, who admitted having to catch up with the personnel on his new team after spending the past five seasons with B.C., also saw no problem.

In fact, he believes being around will push Burris in a positive way.

"In B.C., when Casey Printers and I were supposed to split the reps 50/50, I felt that was my best year of football (2005) because you felt if you weren't at the top of your game, there was a guy waiting there," he said. "As long as he knows I'm on his side and not trying to take any of the praise, not trying to split the team, 'Hey, let Dave get in there.'

"If he hasn't already realized it, he knows he's got my support."

POINTS AFTER

Just before yesterday's morning session, the power went out at McMahon Stadium. "We had to make a bit of half-time adjustment early," GM/head coach John Hufnagel said. "The coaching staff did an excellent job of adjusting. They spent the last few weeks preparing their presentation for the rookies, getting it on computer and with Power Point and with no electricity, that plan had to be put away." It could be a bad omen to start the year, but Hufnagel preferred to look at it in another way ."You have to say the path isn't going to be a smooth path, but we can still get there some how, some way." ... QB Henry Burris isn't the only player noticeably bigger in the muscle department. Receiver Nik Lewis, who'll be moved to slotback, is six pounds heavier at 220 lb. "But it's muscle. Six pounds of muscle and not fat. I didn't eat on that 99-cent menu in Texas." Lewis worked out with a cousin who owns his own gym and is a personal trainer. "It helped me refocus and get everything back together. I'm re-energized for another great season. I think I'm more explosive off the line."


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