Huf's pep perfect for rally

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

All season long, John Hufnagel was the least quotable coach in the CFL.

Now people can't stop repeating his words from a Sunday sermon that helped the Calgary Stampeders win the Grey Cup.

The phrase 'We have them right where we want them' is now part of Stamps history thanks to Hufnagel's pre-game speech that was played on TSN.

No matter what changes this off-season, the Stamps have their coach right where they want him -- and that's leading them into next season. But even with a few question marks on the horizon, Hufnagel preferred to savour the win yesterday at a downtown rally.

"The party is still on," the first-year head coach said.

"No matter how many years I've been at it, it doesn't matter.

"It's extremely satisfying to see the excitement and the exuberance from our fans.

"Seeing our players react after winning the Grey Cup is what you do all the hard work for. That's why they prepare so hard and work so hard in the off-season. I hope they enjoy this moment. There is much more time to think about the future."

For the next few weeks, Hufnagel will finish his season-review work, finalize some contract extensions and then take an extended holiday at his home in Jacksonville, Fla.

In the new year, he will attend some of the all-star college bowl games to see what talent is available for holes his team may need to fill.

At yesterday's rally, he called his coaching staff the best in the CFL and thanked the ownership group, the players and the fans.

As different as the Stamps could look on the field next season, the coaching staff could also change drastically.

Offensive co-ordinator George Cortez is rumoured to be up for some head-coaching opportunities, while defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones is a future head man and secondary coach Corey Chamblin is co-ordinator material.

If anyone leaves his staff, Hufnagel will do what he did a year ago and search out new talent.

"It's a good thing," Hufnagel said about coaches leaving for other job openings.

"It should happen with success. If somebody has the opportunity to move on and better their situations, I wish them the best. It's my job to find capable replacements."

A year ago, Hufnagel hired Jones and they went about completely remaking the defensive side of the ball.

The offence stayed relatively the same except for the line, which was rebuilt through the draft.

If Hufnagel had the chance, he would bring this same group back, but success makes it more difficult.

"You can never do it, but it's our goal and our aim," Hufnagel said.

"Everyone will all be tested in training camp. It will be highly competitive. That's the only way we can assure ourselves to give ourselves to stay at this level."

In addressing the crowd of about 2,000 yesterday at Olympic Plaza, Hufnagel gave another great speech.

"It has been a fantastic and exciting start and a journey, right from the beginning of training camp," Hufnagel said.

"In the first part of the season, we had a core of veteran players and a lot of young guys. Right before your eyes, they developed, meshed and moulded themselves into a football team.

"They got better each and every week and became a great football team.

"As the season moved on, they became the best team in the CFL. This group of players won 10 of their last 11 games.

"This was a team that was said it couldn't win the big one. But this team doesn't lose the big one.

"This is a great moment. We did have them right where we wanted them."


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