Stamps’ Deane in a new place

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

CALGARY - J'Micheal Deane may have switched positions and practice jersey colours, but old traditions die hard.

Even though he was officially listed as a defensive tackle for the first time Friday, Deane still took part in the offensive line's bocce ball game -- which pre-dates the Rocco Romano era.

One stipulation: The red defence jersey needed to come off.

If the rookie wasn't so secure in the move across the line of scrimmage, he might be having an identity crisis.

The 25-year-old even took part in the 'ballgame' where the hoggies make a circle and toss two footballs around, trying to knock it out of the circle.

"It's a bitter divorce," said defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks. "It's like his parents are separated.

"One has him during the week and other has him during weekends. They circled up down (in the endzone) and we called defence and he was late.

"I said, 'Dude, you have to let that go.' "

No matter how odd the move seems, the transition is going much better than expected for the Stampeders.

Playing in about half the defensive snaps in last week's 22-18 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Deane didn't look out of place.

There were hiccups, sure, but the experiment now looks more long term than a one-and-done outing.

"I'm hoping to see progress from last week's play," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "I didn't know what to expect truthfully but he surprised me."

The defensive playbook is much more straightforward than the offensive one. In fact, most of what Deane has to do is go straight forward.

But after spending the last few years as an offensive lineman, where weighing 320-lb. is considered a benefit and not an obstacle.

The Stamps rotate defensive linemen to keep them fresh, and Deane needed the breathers. He spent two games as the starter at right guard but that didn't prepare him for defence.

"After you sit out a series or two, you get your wind back," Deane said. "You go out and lose it again. The rotation really helps a lot.

"I've been running all week to get my cardio up more. The extra running to the ball, wherever it is, you need to be in better shape than an o-lineman.

"I'm not trying to bring down what they do because you need to be a different shape to do what they do."

It took until the fourth quarter in Regina for Deane to show up on the scoresheet. He managed to grab Riders running back Hugh Charles and limit his gain.

"He still got the first down," the Michigan State product said. "I was one second too late. If I was off my block a little faster, maybe I would have stopped him short."

Offensive linemen don't usually get to celebrate much of anything for themselves, so Deane isn't sure what he's going to do if ever gets a quarterback sack.

"Our offensive line is telling me to do something," Dean said with a laugh. "The defensive linemen say I have to be prepared to do a dance. If I get a sack this game, we'll see what happens."

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