Waiting on a chance

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Odell Willis is certain he couldn’t pick Winnipeg out on a map.

Derek Watson was able to do it, but not without some work.

Good thing both new Calgary Stampeders players are just along for the plane ride and don’t need to give directions to the pilot.

“I just happened to looking at a map the other day, so I thought I would check out where all the other teams are based,” said Watson, a running back from South Carolina who might get activated due to injury to Demetris Summers.

“I pretty much found out we’re the second-farthest West team. Montreal is the farthest East team.

“Winnipeg is halfway between or so.”

Over the past week, Willis, a defensive end, and Watson have done their share of absorbing information just in case they get activated for tomorrow trip to Winnipeg so there was little time for geography.

Willis appears more likely to get the call. With the Stamps shuffling their defensive line, the 24-year-old West Georgia product took the majority of reps at rush end as Mike Labinjo moves inside.

“All I know is I’m going to help my team win,” Willis said. “Winnipeg is the town we’re going to. I heard it’s somewhere in the middle of Canada.”

Although Willis was a healthy scratch for Week 1, this could be a similar situation to Charleston Hughes a year ago.

Hughes was a late cut in training camp, then was brought back due to injuries and he ended up starting the rest of the season.

After the Grey Cup win, Hughes signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Obviously that would be the best-case scenario for Willis.

“It’s like life. You need to be patient sometimes,” Willis said. “You may want something now but you can’t get it now. If it’s not presented to you now, you have to let it come.

“Nothing stops for just one person. There is so much that can go wrong, so you need to take the bumps and bruises as they come.”

Watson was a late arrival to training camp, but he was thrown into pre-season action after just four days with the team. Although he fumbled against the Roughriders, the 28-year-old impressed coach John Hufnagel and was given a practice-roster spot to start the season.

With Summers getting hurt, and import offensive lineman Antonio Hall getting released, there is a chance Watson could get a spot on the roster to see what he can do, possibly in the return game.

If he does, the South Carolina product would face a former teammate with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Fred Reid, who is the starting running back for the Bombers.

All week, Watson has run scout team wearing Reid’s No. 32.

“I was a real good Fred Reid,” Watson said. “I was trying to give the guys the best look to give them a chance to win in the game. I was trying to give them the best I had.”

After three years away from football, Watson’s biggest challenge is getting back in game shape.

Waiting an extra week to possibly make his debut will likely help in that regard.

“It gave me more time to get my legs under me,” said Watson, who could return kicks and punts if needed.

“Unfortunately, the season has started the most of the guys have played a game. I’m still trying to get ready for the long season.

“Lucky for me, the coaches have given me the opportunity to get on the field and learn the speed of the game and get back into playing a contact sport.”


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