Huf says club paid to win

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Bravado is human nature. And after a 52-5 dismantling like the one the Calgary Stampeders performed on the Edmonton Eskimos in Monday's Labour Day Classic, head coach John Hufnagel had every reason to brag.

His team held the Esks to just five yards rushing.

It allowed only five total points -- the Stamps defence, on its own, outscored the opposition by seven -- and forced six turnovers.

But the Stamps GM/head coach hardly cracked a smile Tuesday, leading some to question his humanity.

The way he has his team playing, it's easy to believe they're all robots programmed to dominate on the football field and then offer as many juicy words after a win as a two-year- old's Speak & Spell.

"That's just how I react to winning football games," Hufnagel explained. "It's what we're paid to do. It's what they pay me to do -- to try to direct a team that has a chance to win. That's what we pay our players to do -- to go out there and give a great effort with the possibility of that being enough to win. It was a great win, and I'm ecstatic having the record that we have. But the season's only half over."

Nothing less than a Grey Cup will satisfy the 8-1 Stampeders. We get it.

And you know what? That insatiable mentality is working.

Don't worry about a possible letdown Friday when they play the Eskimos again in what human folk consider easy pickins.

Against all logic, the Stamps actually believe the Esks are capable of putting up a fight at Commonwealth Stadium. It's in their programming.

"This is our first time going to Edmonton, and everybody knows it's tough to win both games," Stamps defensive lineman Mike Labinjo said.

Added Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds, "We expect them to come out and play hard. The rematch game is usually 60,000 people there, so they'll be fired up to play at their home field."

Cue linebacker Malik Jackson.

"We gotta bring our best because we're sure they're going to bring their best game," Jackson said. "They're gonna go back to the board room and draw up things to try and beat us, so we have to come out and be at our best."

And quarterback Henry Burris?

"Those guys are gonna play with pride," said the Stamps pivot. "They've got some great players on that team, and they've got a great coaching staff that is going to have that team ready to play at home. I've seen Stampeder teams lose up there."

Slotback Nik Lewis takes things a step further.

"There were a lot of flaws in our game. We turned the ball over. We punted the ball -- that's a flaw. We want no punts," Lewis said. "If this offence is that good, why can't we drive down the field every time?

"There is still a ways to go. I'm not happy with where we are today."


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