Counting on Hughes record against Ti-cats

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:28 PM ET

It was his official return to the Red & White.

But the last time the Calgary Stampeders hit the field at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, defensive end Charleston Hughes mightve been better-suited in blue.

I felt like I was Superman, Hughes said. Flying around. Making plays. It just felt good to be back playing football again.

It just felt like I was back in my comfort zone.

Tiger-Cats quarterbacks Kevin Glenn and Quinton Porter might feel a bit uncomfortable as they watch the game film in preparation for Saturdays clash with the Stamps (11 a.m., TSN, QR77).

Hughes was a force to be reckoned with in his last outing in the Hammer, registering a career-high seven tackles and his first of three straight two-sack efforts in his return from a failed audition with the NFLs Philadephia Eagles.

Although the 26-year-old insists he has a short memory, his Stamps teammates figure hes aware of his impressive track record against the Tabbies .

He knows. He knows, said defensive lineman Tearrius George. As a player, (past success) always sticks in your mind, especially if youve got some of the same players coming back. It always sticks in your mind and you want to duplicate it again.

For Hughes, itll be a tough act to follow.

In his first three outings last season, including a pair of tilts with the Tiger-Cats, the product of little-known Northwood University racked up 14 defensive tackles and six sacks.

In eight appearances since, counting two playoff games and Calgarys season-opening victory over the Toronto Argonauts last week, hes registered 20 defensive tackles and only one sack.

Maybe another trip to Hamilton is the perfect tonic for whats ailing him.

I could see myself having a big game. I see that every game, Hughes said. Itll be hard for them to just focus in on me when Ive got three other defensive lineman just as good as me.

The Stamps are certainly counting on a strong season from their quarterback-hunters.

The defensive line was reshaped midway through last season, with both Hughes and George returning from the NFL and DeVone Claybrooks and since-departed Jim Davis also signing on.

The Stamps finished with only 35 sacks, the second-lowest total in the league, but 13 came from players who were suiting up elsewhere at the beginning of the campaign.

We always want to be more dangerous than we were the previous season, George said.

Weve been together longer. We know the plays a little bit better. We play with each other a little bit better. But, at the same time, Hamilton is a team that gets paid just like we do and they practise like we do, so we cant undermine them in any way.

Everybody game-plans like we do, and if they have a guy thats giving them problems, you never know what they might do. You got a problem, you gotta fix it. Its going to be harder, but thats our job. Thats what we gotta do.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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