Woe-fence fails to hassle Huf

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

What, me? Worry?

While an offensive power outage has some Calgary Stampeders fans in a frenzy, head coach John Hufnagel insists there's no need to panic.

"You have to realize, the game itself is not an easy game to play and it's not an easy game to be hitting on all cylinders each and every week," Hufnagel said yesterday. "The main thing is having a team concept that if a phase of your team is struggling, the other phases don't get into a panic situation, they don't get turned off, we stay together as a team and somehow find a way to win football games.

"We've done that over the last two years. We've been a resilient football team. We haven't, by any stretch of the imagination, been a perfect football team, but we continually stress the importance of fighting and working to get better as the season progresses."

There's plenty of room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

Through the past three outings, star quarterback Henry Burris and his cohorts have averaged 309 yards of offence per game -- including just 147.7 through the air -- and scored only four touchdowns.

When Sandro DeAngelis booted five field goals to vault the club to a 15-14 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Saturday at McMahon Stadium, it marked the first time since Oct. 22, 1995, that the Stamps have won a game without scoring a major.

They'll be back in action on Thanksgiving Monday, butting heads with the Montreal Alouettes, owners of the CFL's No.-1 attack. The Stamps still boast the second-best offence.

"As long as you're within reach at the end of the game and you still have time on the clock, that's what you're looking for," Hufnagel said. "Obviously, you want to be winning by a big score, but the main thing is giving yourself an opportunity to win late in the game."

Although the Stampeders' offence has been stuck in what Hufnagel refers to as a "uncharacteristic" rut for the past three weeks, his hired guns aren't fretting.

"We're a work in progress. Nobody ever said we were the Greatest Show on Earth or turf or whatever it is," said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds. "For myself, I'm trying to improve as a player, and everybody is. If anybody thinks we're supposed to be a perfect team by now then I don't know what to tell them, because we're definitely not."

Blackmon leaves team

Frustrated with his lack of playing time after being stashed on either the practice roster or injured list the past six weeks, rookie linebacker Tray Blackmon has headed home.

Blackmon was the Stamps' starting middle linebacker for the first seven regular-season outings but hasn't hit the field since he sprained his ankle Aug. 13 tilt against the Eskimos. He lost his job to former NFLer Tim Johnson during the bye week. Blackmon, 23, has four young children at home in LaGrange, Ga.

"Unfortunately, I couldn't do what he wanted me to do for him," said Hufnagel. "That's not to say that Tray Blackmon won't be in a Stampeders uniform again."

In other roster moves yesterday, the Stamps announced QB Michael Desormeaux, WR Deon Murphy and DL Vincent Redd have been added to the practice roster.

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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