Enough is enough for upset Huf

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 4:29 AM ET

Slogging through another late-season practice, the Calgary Stampeders were suddenly snapped to attention.

John Hufnagel was sick of seeing his team going through the motions, so he whistled and told them all to leave.

Clear the field, practice over.

"I'm not a coach that wants to see that type of practice," Hufnagel said after yesterday's shortened session at McMahon Stadium.

"It's one thing about fighting through some things, but I expected a lot better practice, a more focused team, a team with better knowledge of their assignments.

"Obviously, I wasn't seeing what I needed to see.

"I didn't see anything getting done, so we will spend more time in the meeting room. Let's just say I wanted to make sure they were fully aware they need to practice better."

There was plenty of confusion amongst the players when the coaching and support staff left the field.

No one was quite sure what happened, and Hufnagel wouldn't be specific about one certain problem.

Clearly with a meeting Saturday in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions that could decide second place in the West Division, there was too much sloppiness for a team with two games left in the regular season.

If Hufnagel was trying to send a message, it worked.

Because there was no specific incident, each player has to believe he did something to contribute to the problem.

"If it's not a wakeup call, boy, we have to work at it," said veteran right tackle Jeff Pilon. "Every snap counts. Even practice snaps. The way you practice is the way you play.

"There's no excuse. Huf didn't like what he was seeing. When you have this much on the line the next couple games, if we're not practising the way we should, why not end it?"

The session was cut short at the start of offensive team drills.

Feeling they needed more work, a handful of veterans kept the starting offence on the field, and, despite the defence gone, ran a few plays until the allotted practice time was up.

"Offensively, we wanted to finish the script and do the rest of the plays," said receiver Jeremaine Copeland.

"No team likes being called off the field. This is what we do as professionals. We wanted to make sure we feel comfortable with the plays.

"This is something that happens. What can you do about it? The only thing is to finish and that's what we did. I really don't think it was the offence.

"We will come through and press through it (in today's practice) and, hopefully, coach will be satisfied."

In preparing to play in B.C. Place Stadium Saturday, the Stamps were piping in annoying crowd noise during practice.

That seemed to throw the team off on both sides of the ball, but it's certainly not the first time noise has been added during the workday.

Although Hufnagel wasn't there to see it, he was fine with the offence staying out as if nothing had happened.

"That's a good thing," Hufnagel said. "They wanted to do what they think they need to do in order to prepare themselves. They had some extra time before going to meetings. We always encourage them to work on their own, to put some extra time in if they need to."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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