Backup job Barrick's now

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

In training camp, Barrick Nealy played his way past Ben Sankey on the Calgary Stampeders quarterbacking depth chart.

So it's hardly a surprise he did it again in October.

When Dave Dickenson went down with a season-ending injury on Labour Day, Sankey was brought back to give the Stamps a veteran backup to Henry Burris.

For more than a month, Sankey would have been thrown in to run the offence had Burris gone down with an injury.

But Stamps head coach John Hufnagel has since decided Nealy has done enough in practice to earn second-string duties heading into Friday's game against the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In the past two victories over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Nealy has provided mop-up duty and has improved his poise with each appearance.

"I think he's the better option at this time," said Hufnagel about Nealy.

"It's nice to get him some playing time. He's getting into the game and just doing some normal things. He's handing the ball off and doing some careful passes. There are no easy passes, but some are more difficult than others."

When Nealy entered a 42-5 win over the Roughriders two weeks ago, all he did was hand the ball off to the running backs, but he did scramble for a 30-yard gain after making a quick read.

On Saturday in a 37-16 spanking of the Blue Bombers, Nealy threw three passes and completed two of them. Again, his main job was to hand off, but he did run a quarterback draw for a two-yard gain.

The 6-foot-5, 212-pounder's mobility in the pocket is giving him the edge right now.

"The unique thing about Barrick is his ability to make plays with his legs," Hufnagel said. "He's probably an overall stronger runner than Henry is. I'm not coming down on Henry's running ability, because Henry is an excellent runner. They have different styles.

"In the quarterback draw Barrick ran last game, he went right over the safety. He's a big, powerful man with good running ability."

Although Nealy said he's unaware of exactly where he stands on the depth chart, he's excited to get game action.

The 25-year-old dressed for all 18 games last season but only made two appearances, so getting into three games this season has added to his confidence.

"Every game, I hope offensively we jump up on the team and put points on the board so that I can get a chance in the second half," said the Texas State product. "Hopefully, we can take care of business and get Hamilton out of the way early so I can get in there."

EXTRA POINTS

Stamps S Wes Lysack, who returned Saturday from an ankle sprain, missed yesterday's practice with food poisoning ... WRs Jeremaine Copeland and Nik Lewis sat out practice with injuries, but head coach John Hufnagel expects both to return today and be on the flight to Hamilton tonight for Friday's meeting with the Tiger-Cats ... SB Jabari Arthur (ankle) skipped practice and is doubtful for Friday's game ... LB Neil Ternovatsky was rolled on by a lineman in practice yesterday, and left with a tender ankle.


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