Crowded backfield for Stamps
By WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency
|Joffrey Reynolds is still the leading man in the Stampeders' backfield.
CALGARY - Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish has only one regret about his breakout campaign.
That his backfield buddy, Joffrey Reynolds, didn’t win a third consecutive CFL rushing crown.
“I definitely thought we were the best running back duo in the CFL last year, but one of my issues was that Joffrey should have been the top running back in the CFL last year, and yeah, I did take away some of his reps,” Cornish said. “But we combined for more yards than any other running back duo in the CFL last year, and that’s the most important thing.
“He’s not overly worried about it. If only there was some sort of best duo award in the CFL, I wouldn’t feel so bad about it.”
That award doesn’t exist.
Statistically, though, there’s no doubt Reynolds and Cornish became the top rushing tandem in the three-down football ranks in 2010.
Reynolds racked up 1,200 yards on 217 carries last season, finishing third on the CFL charts after winning back-to-back league rushing titles. The six-time division all-star also had eight majors.
Cornish more than doubled his previous career-best with 618 yards on 85 attempts, although his only touchdown came through the air.
The Calgary club’s dynamic running back duo also combined for 512 receiving yards.
“Having two good players in a position doesn’t hurt because you have good depth,” Reynolds said.
“I guess the good thing is I’m American and he’s Canadian, so we’re not really stepping on each other’s toes as far as the ratio goes.”
For the past six springs, Reynolds has arrived for training camp as the Stampeders’ undisputed lead running back. He’s still the go-to guy, but Cornish will see a heavy workload again this season.
Imports Rafael Little and LaMarcus Coker and Calgary Dinos standout Matt Walter are also competing for carries at training camp, while Rob Cote seems safe as the starting fullback in front of special-teams ace Tim St. Pierre and rookie Jared Manchulenko.
At 31, a year after running backs are supposed to become after-thoughts, Reynolds is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the Stamps workhorse recently teamed up with slotback Nik Lewis to launch a fan-friendly website called calmb4storm.com, a sign he wants to wear Red & White for years to come.
Reynolds even stuck around this winter, lifting weights and working out with the B.C.-born Cornish about five times a week.
This isn’t exactly a tug-o-war. It’s more like healthy competition.
“We have a good thing going. Why would anybody complain, really?” Reynolds said. “Obviously, I would like to carry the ball every play if they’d let me — let the receivers get maybe 20 passes a game and I get maybe 30 carries a game. But it doesn’t work like that. I just think that (Jon and I) both respect each other and respect others’ work, and we definitely cheer for each other. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders.”
“If you have a more selfish guy in either of our roles, I don’t think we would be able to maintain our friendship or maintain our working relationship,” Cornish added. “But it’s beneficial for us both to be team-oriented, and I think that helps the whole team.”