CALGARY - Robert McCune doesn’t do a lot of talking.
So when he does have something to say, people listen.
The Calgary Stampeders defensive end/linebacker had a captive audience when he delivered an impassioned speech at halftime Saturday afternoon.
With the Stamps trailing the Montreal Alouettes 18-11, McCune had seen enough. The former military man opened up with both barrels.
“The way we played that first half, I know I wasn’t satisfied with myself,” McCune said. “We got in the locker-room and I saw a lot of guys with their heads down.
“I told them, ‘Let’s get an attitude about ourselves. Let’s go make play after play and get this win at home, because we have the team to do it.’
“I had to say it. It was just inside me. People came up to me after the game and said, ‘Thanks for the speech.’ ”
The result for the Stamps was an impressive second-half performance and a 38-31 victory over the Alouettes at McMahon Stadium.
Stamps middle linebacker Juwan Simpson said McCune’s timing was perfect.
Whether it was a soft-spoken teammate or a motormouth like slotback Nik Lewis, the message needed to be delivered.
“McCune doesn’t talk very often,” Simpson said. “When he does, he’s very emotional and everybody listens.
“It was the perfect time for something to be said. He took a stand and said something.
“We needed that and had it been from McCune, who’s quiet, or from Nik, who’s obnoxiously loud, the point went across well.”
McCune’s afternoon wasn’t without controversy.
The 32-year-old was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty when he and Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo tumbled into the Stamps’ bench in the second quarter.
“I saw Calvillo running and I was going a hundred miles per hour,” McCune said. “When he was stepping out of bounds, I was right there. I tried to grab him, but my momentum was going and there’s so many people on the sideline, I ended up tripping over some feet.”
McCune made a point to make amends with Calvillo.
“The play after that, I went over to him and said, ‘Hey man, I’m not a dirty player,’ ” McCune said. “He felt me trying to hold him up.
“I apologized to him. He’s a great quarterback, and I don’t want to hurt his career because of something careless and stupid like that.”
McCune and the rest of the Stamps defence came out rejuvenated in the second half, getting a few key stops and the game-deciding interception from Keon Raymond in the final minute.
“We came out in the second half and guys were more tuned in,” McCune said. “It was great to get the win, but watching film (Saturday), we still have a lot of work to do.
“We’ve got a couple of days off to refresh our minds and then come back and get ready for Edmonton.”