Burris likes bug in his ear

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

Henry Burris had his coach barking instructions directly into his ear the other night, but he actually enjoyed it.

The Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos were guinea pigs in the CFL's experimental use of headsets between offensive co-ordinators and quarterbacks Friday night at McMahon Stadium.

Burris gave the system a huge thumbs-up after experiencing no technical problems whatsoever.

And, once he got used to it, Burris found it much smoother to get playcalls sent into him from the sidelines than the usual hand signals.

"I've always been a fan because the communication is a lot better," said Burris, who used the system in the NFL. "He just reads the plays to you, so you get it and go."

The system is the same the NFL has used for years, and the CFL has been toying with the idea for a couple of seasons.

Kevin McDonald, the CFL's director of football operations, said the experiment went well, but implementation isn't a high priority.

The league must weigh the costs of the technology against how much it could improve the product. No one likes offside and procedure calls, or broken plays, and this communication would likely ease some of those problems.

"Purists might argue that part of the strategy of the game is the coach getting the play in," McDonald said. "That's part of it, but as we are looking at ways to make the game more exciting and improve it, this is one way -- easing the communication and getting things in quicker and taking concern off quarterbacks.

"It gives them a chance to grab their breath a bit. It was, overall, a very positive test."

During the pre-season experiment, the headsets were live until the quarterback broke the huddle and approached the line.

The CFL will also want to try setting the shut-off switch to the 20-second clock, which is the method the NFL is reported to be using.

The NFL is also bringing in the same technology for use on the defensive side, which may be a reaction to the signal-stealing scandal it had last year involving the New England Patriots.

Burris said the device fit comfortably in his helmet and it also came with a volume adjustment. It also allowed offensive co-ordinator George Cortez a chance to offer more advice than just the play call.

"He can give some tidbits here and there as far as what they did on last down and distance, watch this guy who is hot or tell this guy to watch his depth," Burris said.

"A lot of times if we're on the far hash, you don't have time to get over there, so he will give it over the headset."

Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel joked the wireless system may stop teams from stealing signals.

"I used to steal when I played, that's why I was a good quarterback coming off the bench," Hufnagel said with a chuckle. "It's progress."


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