Calgary fit to be hog-tied?

Rob Lazeo, left, and Steve Myddelton of the Calgary Stampeders — along with the rest of the team's...

Rob Lazeo, left, and Steve Myddelton of the Calgary Stampeders — along with the rest of the team's offensive line — will have to do a lot of communicating Saturday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders bring their defensive schemes to McMahon Stadium. (QMI Agency file photo)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMIA gency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

It’s hard to pin down exactly a way to describe the schemes and stunts used by the Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive line.

Unique, bizarre, eye-opening, twisted …

“All the above,” said Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Steve Myddelton.

“Unconventional,” added fellow hog Dan Comiskey “They have been for a bit now. We knew that preparing for them in the pre-season and know that coming into this game. It’s just one of those things where we’ll have to put in a bit of extra time and watch it all, look at it.”

The schemes used by the Riders — who visit the Stampeders Saturday at McMahon Stadium (7:30 p.m.) — seldom resemble a video game.

They use constantly changing fronts.

Sometimes, they’ll go with the traditional four down-linemen. Other times, all four are practically over the centre, or spreading out to the sides or even incorporating the linebackers a yard from the ball the next play. The idea is to confuse the offensive linemen, or at least make them try to figure out what’s going on and lose a step.

“It takes you out of what you normally do and makes you re-think blocking schemes, what techniques you’re playing against. It’s deceptive,” said Myddelton, a first-year starter. “It just involves more prep work. It’s trying to play fast against us — designed to make us slower as a unit and second-guess your assignments — things like that.

“As long as you’re comfortable with it and stick to your game plan, it’s still just playing football. We should be able to manage.”

The Roughriders haven’t looked unbeatable in winning their first three games to start the season — the lone CFL club without a blemish — but they’re certainly the league’s team to beat.

Throw in the question marks surrounding the Stamps’ offensive line — which haven’t exactly been answered — and you can imagine we may see the best yet out of the Riders in the trenches this season.

Myddelton, a second-year pro out of St. F-X University, knows he and rookie tackle Edwin Harrison could be in the crosshairs.

“It’ll be no more than the other few games,” Myddelton said. “It still has to fit into the defensive scheme. We’ve made strides as an offensive line the last few games, because we’re comfortable with the schemes, comfortable with the offence, comfortable playing beside each other.

“I’ll welcome the challenge.”

Still, rest assured the rushers will be expected to lend a hand protecting quarterback Henry Burris.

“We have to stay with our rules. I’m sure they will make some plays,” said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds, who admitted it’s a tall task. “The good thing about it is when you catch them in those defences with the right plays, it’s usually a big gain for you.”

This would be a golden chance for the Stamps offensive linemen, who have dealt with a crazy turnover and a pile of second-guessers, to show how far they’ve come.

“After a loss, it’s going to come up,” Comiskey said. “The bottom line for us is improvement every day. If we improve every day, by the end of the year, we’ll be great."


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