Joffrey's all busy-ness

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

The number of touches Joffrey Reynolds received in the Stampeders season-opener won't qualify him for the workhorse category.

But the Calgary running back sure enjoyed the heavier than average load.

In the Stampeders 28-18 victory over the B.C. Lions Thursday night at McMahon Stadium, Reynolds was sure easy to spot.

The numbers alone tell a tale.

- On the ground, 23 carries for 125 yards.

- Two receptions for 17 yards.

- Two kickoff returns for 54 yards, including a strong opening kick return that set a perfect tone for a Stamps team ready to be off to the races.

Busy? You bet.

And enjoyed every second of it.

"Oh, definitely," said Reynolds, whose team had a day off yesterday. "Any offensive player, receiver or running back, you love to have your number called.

"I'm just happy coach Huf (John Hufnagel) has confidence in me. I tried to work hard in practice to show I can be a playmaker when I get the ball. Any time I can get the ball to go my way, I'm loving it."

When the curtain fell on the 2007 season, Reynolds was short of expectations. Sure, he was named to the West Division's all-star squad for the third consecutive season, but the 1,231 yards on 214 carries was below what he and Stamps fans were hoping for.

After all, in 2006, he rushed for 1,541 yards (on 259 carries), which was the third highest total in team history, and was named all-Canadian.

The low point came in a early August loss to Montreal, when the 28-year-old had only four carries for 20 yards.

Simply put, Reynolds is too talented, too consistent and too valuable to be a bystander much of the night.

Granted, he won't receive 23 carries every game, but the goal is 20 -- far more than the 12.6 he averaged through the 2007 campaign.

Another major difference in the season-opening victory was how Reynolds was used.

He didn't just come out of the backfield each and every play. Often, he was swinging to the outside, with wide receiver Ken-Yon Rambo switching to the backfield.

"It's a different look. Something for the defence to think about," Reynolds said. "It's a bit tiring for me to motion all the way out there, but it's Game 1 and hopefully I can get in shape for it.

"If we can keep the defence staring at different looks and off-balance, where they can't key on different formations and what we're doing, it's a plus for us."

The Stamps' off-season plan was to find a new return man, but the Houston native didn't even get a break in that special teams area.

He has done the job in the past -- 15 returns for 331 yards last season -- but proved to be just as valuable as anyone in that role.

"We had a scheme where we were just trying to get it up the middle and get some tough yards, and we were able to do that. We got some decent field position," he said.

"That's what you work in the off-season for. If you want to be a successful player and a player people want to come to the game and watch, that's what you got to do."


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