Struggling O-line set to step it up

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

The message was subtle but direct.

After a pre-season win over the B.C. Lions, John Hufnagel said his team needed to work on getting the running backs past the line of scrimmage.

If the Calgary Stampeders offensive line needed a push, this was good enough, and it doesn't matter that two of the projected starters missed the game due to injury.

That would be an excuse.

"He lets us be accountable to each other," said left guard Derek Armstrong, who is filling in for Jesse Newman.

"Comments like that get taken personally by this group. Some games we look great and other games we're not the best. That's sports ... You will see a difference in the o-line during the regular season than the first pre-season game."

With right tackle Jeff Pilon (knee) and Newman (ankle) once again sidelined, the starting five will try to build some chemistry tonight when the Stamps visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the pre-season finale.

Fourth-year Stamp Godfrey Ellis is filling in for Pilon, while Ben Archibald is at left tackle, Rob Lazeo is at centre and Dimitri Tsoumpas is at right guard. If Pilon and Newman aren't ready for the regular season July 1, that might be the starting group, which makes getting some experience together important.

"It's always tough having starters out from last year," Lazeo said. "You always want to start off where you left off."


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