Stampeders must refocus

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:10 AM ET

CALGARY - By spending the majority of the day travelling Monday, the Calgary Stampeders came back to a harsh reality — and it’s not just the jet-lag.

Some would say they had a reality check the previous day when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats handed them a 55-36 whipping in Touchdown Atlantic.

The entire week, the Stamps organization spread the good word about the CFL through the Maritimes, even going to Charlottetown for a day on PEI.

Now they come home staring at a potential crossroads in their season.

At no point in the tenure of GM-head coach John Hufnagel have the Stampeders lost three straight games.

If they don’t take care of business Saturday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they will break that remarkable run of being able to bounce back from a couple of setbacks.

What’s surprising about the past month of the season, during which the Stamps have lost three of four games, is they appeared to be hitting their stride heading into Labour Day.

They have failed to maintain focus, and now they must regain it.

“Sometimes people don’t know how to handle success,” Hufnagel said following Sunday’s loss in Moncton, B.C.

“You work hard in camp trying to win a position. You try to get off to a good start. The momentum is going well, and good things are happening.

“I challenged my team, because right now, we’re not a good team. I don’t know if we’re tough enough mentally to overcome bad situations.”

The Stamps have to be mentally tough as well as physically tough this week.

After travelling home from the Atlantic time zone Monday, they will take Tuesday to recuperate, as well. Usually a practice week would be three days long followed by a review session and then game day.

They get one fewer practice this week, and when they show up for work, there will be new faces looking to take jobs.

Hufnagel made it clear in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat that his defensive front isn’t getting the job done.

The CFL practice roster expand this week, so the Stamps are using this opportunity to add bodies to see if they can find a pass rush.

Whether the likes of Chris McCoy (Middle Tennessee State) and Brandon Sharpe (Texas Tech) can fix what’s ailing the Stampeders defence remains to be seen.

But Hufnagel hinted at making changes while saying his team needed to change its mindset when he emerged from the losing locker-room Sunday.

“We aren’t getting a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback without bringing a lot of people,” Hufnagel said. “The plays made against our blitz coverage have ended up in the endzone. We have to do a better job of winning one-on-one matchups.”

The Stamps will also add linebacker De’Von Hall (Utah State), who is one of those hybrid types in the mould of Brandon Isaac or Daren Stone. Quarterback Dwight Dasher (Middle Tennessee State) and receiver Joe Horn (Ashland) will also come on board.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @ianbusby57


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