Rerun or Replay for Stamps?

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:07 AM ET

CALGARY - Here’s hoping the Labour Day Replay doesn’t look anything like the Labour Day replay.

The cram-session for Friday’s CFL rivalry-game rematch at Commonwealth Stadium started in the middle-of-the-night hours of Tuesday, when Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel arrived at his office to review video of Monday’s 35-7 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.

“(The tape) didn’t tell me anything different than what

I saw in person,” Hufnagel told reporters during Tuesday’s media availability. “We didn’t play nearly good enough to win a football game.”

The players return to work Wednesday and have only two on-field sessions to prepare for Friday’s return engagement in Edmonton, which doesn’t leave much time to make significant changes to the gameplan.

Although the Stamps didn’t suffer any major injuries in Monday’s deflating defeat, Hufnagel also isn’t optimistic any of his hurtin’ Horsemen will be ready to return for the rematch, so there won’t likely be many lineup changes, either. That means all-star middle linebacker Juwan Simpson will likely miss another outing with a sore knee and rookie defensive lineman J’Micheal Deane will once again be sidelined with a rib injury. Tackle Edwin Harrison is finished his stint on the nine-game injured list, so it’s possible he could be inserted along the struggling offensive line.

So what does change, for certain?

After two home losses to the Eskimos in a six-week span, the Stamps’ focus for Friday is to simply be better in all areas.

“We’re going up there to attempt to do the same thing they did on Labour Day to us, which is regain first place,” Hufnagel said. “I expect (the players) to respond positively, understand what our downfall was. I expect them to devote the next three days to preparing themselves to play a football game that is going to take great effort on our part and execution.

“We’ve played Edmonton twice and come out on the short end both times. We need to do better. We need to do everything better. We need to coach better, play better and, hopefully, have different results.”

Although some fans were certainly in panic mode after Monday’s meltdown, it’s important to remember it could be a lot worse at McMahon Stadium.

Tuesday’s main story in the three-down ranks was provided by Toronto Argonauts head coach Jim Barker, who cut ties with starting quarterback Cleo Lemon. The Argos will try to improve on their 2-7 record with pivot Steven Jyles returning from the nine-game injured list to take the helm.

The Stamps certainly didn’t perform like a first-place football team during Monday’s loss, but they’re still 6-3 and share top spot in the West Division standings with the Eskimos.

And their quarterback? Henry Burris’ 132-yard passing performance on Labour Day is his worst stat-line in a full outing since October 2009, but let’s not forget this is the same guy who was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player last season.

On Tuesday morning, the Stamps’ signal-caller logged onto his Twitter account to tell fans he’s anxious to atone for Monday’s lopsided loss.

“Back to work!! Excited for Friday after we embarrassed ourselves! U get out what u put in! Better preparation as a team!!” he wrote.

A few minutes later, Burris added, “Greatest thing about Labor Day is the friday rematch because monday is quickly forgotten!”

Unfortunately, they’ll have to watch the film first.

And it ain’t pretty.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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