Jon Cornish is an interesting dude.
Talks with the 25-year-old Calgary Stampeders running back range from references to the Pythagorean theory to taking his iPad with him into the bathroom.
But during a 40-20 CFL win Saturday night over the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders, he reminded everyone what he does best — run with a football tucked in his arms.
Even before he broke off a career-high 50-yard run by blazing to the outside in the fourth quarter, Cornish showed how effectively he could complement starter Joffrey Reynolds.
“Midway through the third quarter, I talked to him,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. “I said, ‘Hey, it’s good that you remembered how to run.’
“It was a nice day for Jon.”
A knee injury in the pre-season helped ensure there weren’t many of those for Cornish last year. And despite getting on the field for every third series this season, he hasn’t had many opportunities to strut his stuff.
But with five carries for 77 yards and one catch good for another 20, Cornish had the kind of game everyone has been waiting to see from the second-round pick of the 2006 CFL Canadian Draft.
His 50-yard trek ended just shy of the endzone, when he was tripped up by Riders defender Tad Kornegay. Cornish did take a little ribbing for not scoring on the play.
“Some of the guys say I’m pretty fast, so they sort of expected me to run into the endzone,” Cornish said with a grin. “But I was talking with Joffrey, and we were going over a little bit of running back theory.
“If you aren’t running directly up the middle of the field, it is very hard to get over 50 yards in the CFL as a running back unless you actually have an opportunity to deal with (the tacklers earlier) in your run.
“I had a 48-yard run before, and it was the exact same thing. Somebody has an angle on you, it doesn’t matter how fast you are.”
That’s where the geometric theory talk came in.
As for the iPad, he completed the Osmos Odyssey — a physics-based game on his gadget — to kick off his stellar weekend.
“It’s a very chill, laid-back game,” said Cornish, explaining the character is a lifeform tasked with absorbing other lifeforms but having to deal with challenges like gravity while manoeuvering patiently.
Kind of like waiting for a block to open a hole on the field.
“Everything has to be perfect,” Cornish said. “Sometimes, there’s stuff bigger than you you can’t absorb, so you have to fit right between them. It has some correlations with football.”
His success Saturday is directly correlated with opportunity.
Both Cornish and Hufnagel knew the numbers would come eventually.
“The key was that I actually got the opportunity. It worked out in other games that we just weren’t in a position to run. (Saturday) was perfect.
I got lots of reps,” Cornish said. “It feels like a return to my 2008 form. Last year, I wasn’t as strong and wasn’t as fast as I could have been because I was a little set back (because of the injury). It really just felt like I was just running the ball like I should have been the whole time. I was really happy to be able to do that again.
“As a running back, it’s very satisfying.”
QB Clark shows arm
Former Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark worked out Sunday with the Stamps, showing his stuff in a casual pitch-and-catch session with receivers in front of the coaching staff.
There’s no contract yet, but Stamps head coach John Hufnagel — a Nittany Lions alum — was impressed.
“He’s just here on a workout for the immediate future,” Hufnagel said. “I thought he had a lively arm, and he’s accurate. He showed pretty good feet.
“For a first time throwing a CFL football, I was pleased.”