HAMILTON — When they weren’t contenders, the Calgary Stampeders could barely contend with them.
So now that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have legitimate Grey Cup aspirations, shouldn’t the Stamps be worried?
In the 2000s, the Ticats had a measly 41 home victories, but seven of those came against the Stamps.
Even when the Cats were getting three or five wins a season, they could count on playing well against Calgary, at least at home.
“I’m not sure if it was the Hamilton teams or coming to Hamilton,” said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris, who leads his team against the Ticats Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium (11 a.m., TSN).
“Whatever the case, we have to rewrite the record books starting right now.
“They will be coming out in revenge mode. They are coming off an embarrassing loss. It wasn’t according to their script of how they wanted to get started. We have to play with some intensity and build off last week.”
A funny thing happened on the way to respectability for the Ticats. In the season-opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Ticats had nothing going offensively and the hype all-Canadian offensive line allowed seven sacks.
The most glaring weakness was right tackle Simeon Rottier, who was the first-overall draft pick in 2009 but made his first start at the position.
Kevin Glenn was dropped three times by Phillip Hunt as Rottier couldn’t slow the defensive end down.
“We don’t signal any group out,” Glenn said. “(Saturday) is an important game for the offence. When you get to talking about different positions, you leave it up to that person.
“If that person wasn’t serious about the game, he wouldn’t be playing. You can tell the attitude this week. You see guys trying to get better because of what happened last week.”
Both offences should get a boost from an off-season acquisition making his season debut.
P.K. Sam, who was brought over in the trade for Jeremaine Copeland, makes his first start at slotback for the Stamps.
Former Eskimos receiver Maurice Mann will start at wide receiver for the Ticats and should provide Glenn a weapon downfield.
The question will be is if the Ticats receivers will have time.
The Stamps pressured Toronto Argonauts newcomer Cleo Lemon in the season opener, recording three sacks of their own.
But even when a sack wasn’t made, the pressure had an effect on Lemon.
Rookie Stamps safety Eric Fraser had Lemon dead in his sights but missed the elusive pivot. The pass Lemon attempted on the play was intercepted by Keon Raymond anyway.
The veteran Glenn probably isn’t as agile as Lemon.
“He turned and seen me at the last minute,” Fraser said. “I was a bit out of control.
“I had my first sack all lined up. He was looking the other way so I thought I would get a clean shot at him. He stepped up and I lost my footing a little bit. I dived to make the tackle but I couldn’t.
“Hopefully next time I get it.”
The Ticats may have started believing their hype before the season began.
After Marcus Thigpen took back the opening kickoff against Winnipeg, the Tabbies suddenly looked like a below average bunch.
Maybe this was a team that believed it had already achieved something by being talked about positively.
But one loss isn’t changing the expectations the Ticats have that they will compete for a title this season.
“For myself, anything I do when I compete, my expectations are super high,” said receiver Arland Bruce. “I’ve been on a team where we were 14-4 and we didn’t win the championship (Winnipeg 2001).
“We are still on pace to where we’re headed. It’s tough to lose at any time … but all we can do is correct it.”