Stamps' switch hitter
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
|Calgary Stampeders, Tim St. Pierre, during practice at McMahon on Tuesday July 19 2011. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)
When the Edmonton Eskimos visited McMahon Stadium twice last year, it was painful for Tim St. Pierre.
As a linebacker/long-snapper for the Eskimos, St. Pierre was part of a team on the losing end of 56-15 and 52-5 beatings.
This year, St. Pierre is expecting a much different outing for himself — and not just because he’s with the Calgary Stampeders.
In his first meeting against his former team, St. Pierre is taking over as the starting fullback for the Stamps.
And with the Eskimos at 3-0 facing the 2-1 Stamps, there shouldn’t be a lopsided blowout between the West Division rivals.
St. Pierre had never taken a pounding like that in any level of football.
“I was on the winning side in college,” the 25-year-old said. “That was much more fun. Being on the losing side is terrible.
“I’m looking forward to being on the good side of the fans here this year and on this side of the rivalry.”
The Stamps signed St. Pierre right after free-agency opened in February and told him immediately they would like to move him over to offence.
He was drafted as a linebacker and spent last season as the full-time long-snapper for the Eskimos.
It’s a tough transition going from hitting to blocking, but Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson likes what he’s seen in St. Pierre and is confident he can replace Rob Cote, who is out with a knee injury.
“It’s gone amazingly well,” Dickenson said about the experiment. “We’ve tried that in the past and sometimes it’s been OK for the guy, but most of the time it’s something they aren’t used to.
“I do believe Tim is a quick learner, and he’s at least played the game and understands it. I feel confident he will do the right thing and give me everything he’s got.”
Cote was hurt fairly early in the win last Thursday over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and St. Pierre took over.
In the third quarter, he rolled out for a pass and showed some sure hands in catching the ball.
Dickenson is impressed with his catching ability, which might be aided by handling the ball for snapping.
“Originally, I wasn’t too sure,” Dickenson said. “I called a play for him on the short yardage and he responded great.
“He’s caught the ball well in practice. If you have confidence in someone during practice, then it confirms you can call the play during the game. He showed he can do it.”
A year ago, the Stamps tried moving Mike Cornell to fullback from linebacker, but Cornell is now back playing his natural position for the Eskimos.
St. Pierre took to the change with excitement.
“A lot of people have asked me about the position change, but once you go through a CFL training camp, three or four weeks of that, it’s equivalent to three years in college in terms of knowledge you get,” St. Pierre said. “You have a great coaching staff and veterans around you, so you can pick it up quick. That’s what I’ve been able to do.”