Focus, says Huf to Stamps offence

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 PM ET

CALGARY - As the Calgary Stampeders were welcoming two new players into their offensive huddle, they were having a hard time breaking it.

In the middle of Tuesday's practice, the offence came out of the huddle poorly, so GM/head coach John Hufnagel ordered them back to do it again.

Second try, they lined up wrong again, earning a verbal tirade from the CFL club's bench boss.

Hufnagel has stated several times he was losing patience with the offence following a 21-20 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last Thursday, and this type of morning wasn't helping.

"There was a three-play lapse that I had to get their attention," Hufnagel said about the outburst, which seemed to work because it was smooth after that.

For a team struggling offensively during games, a lack of concentration isn't a good sign, especially since the Stamps are trying to replace two key parts.

With both fullback Rob Cote (knee) and receiver Arjei Franklin (broken ribs) out, the Stamps have a few days to get Tim St. Pierre and Johnny Forzani ready to play a bigger roles.

"It was disappointing," said Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson about the practice mis-step. "You can make a mistake, but don't make it again.

"We had back-to-back mistakes. That's the ultimate as a coach. I don't mind a mistake at full speed, but learn from it and don't do it again.

"I want our guys to get focused. Camp is over. Legs are back. It's time for us to make that step forward."

To help add depth because of the injury situation, the Stamps signed 10-year veteran fullback Lyle Green, formerly of the B.C. Lions, and receiver Steven Turner, who was the 30th overall draft pick by the Toronto Argonauts last season.

Green will dress Saturday against the Edmonton Eskimos and will see work mostly on special teams while backing up St. Pierre.

Turner suffered a ruptured Achilles last year and is still working his way back from that injury. He parted ways with the Argos during this year's training camp looking for a fresh start, but he's a longer-term project in Calgary.

There was some good news for the Stamps offence at least.

Quarterback Drew Tate, who suffered a dislocated shoulder during the pre-season, ran the scout-team offence for the first time as he works his way back.

Also, receiver Jabari Arthur took part in practice and hopes to play Saturday as well, which would be important with Franklin out.

"I was out here feeling good," said Arthur, who is coming off a a hamstring injury. "There is no pain holding me back. It felt good, and hopefully, I can continue to build on it."

Forzani will be a more active member of the offence in Franklin's absence, and it's remarkable to think that just three years ago he played his first organized football game "¦ ever.

When he suits up Saturday, it will actually be the 24th game of his entire life.

"It's the first time I thought about it in a long time," Forzani said. "Things have gone superfast, but I had to make up for time lost.

"I've played a lot this year already, and I feel I'm starting to get a little more comfortable each day. I'm feeling more relaxed, and that's going back to the experience thing.

"I don't know how or why, but I feel less pressure that I'm trying alleviate."

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