June 14, 2012
Bauman reporting for duty
By IAN BUSBY, QMI AGENCY
For most six-year CFL veterans, pre-season games are like trips to the dentist.
Twice a year, they can be an agonizingly painful exercise, even if they are necessary for maintenance.
It just so happens Chris Bauman is craving a root canal right now.
“I have to get the rust knocked off,” said the Calgary Stampeders receiver who spent the 2011 season with the Edmonton Eskimos after four with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“I haven’t played much in the past year. I need to get out there and get some game experience.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve played in three pre-season games my whole career. I’ve always been hurt during training camp and missed the games.
“I’m happy right now and I’m healthy, so I will play as much as they want me to.”
Bauman’s first action with the Red and White will be against the Eskimos Friday night (McMahon Stadium, 7 p.m.), as the Stamps open the pre-season.
It’s an extremely important outing for the 27-year-old Bauman, who signed with Calgary a week after getting released by the Eskimos this January.
Coming into a deep Canadian receiving corps, Bauman is having a solid training camp, and he managed to gobble up a few passes during Sunday’s mock game.
It didn’t hurt that Kevin Glenn was throwing him passes, as the two have chemistry back from their days in Hamilton, where Bauman was the first-overall draft pick by the Tiger-Cats in 2007.
Now the Brandon, Man., native has to prove he can be the impact player he was expected to be coming out of the University of Regina instead of the healthy scratch he was most of last year.
“Every game has a lot of emphasis to me,” Bauman said. “You need to go out there and play, not mess up the assignment and make the play when the number is called.”
As a big-splash free-agent with the Eskimos, Bauman never got on track in Edmonton. He only dressed in seven games, where he caught 11 passes for 132 yards.
So he’s feeling fresh, and Friday could be a busy night.
Nik Lewis skipped practice Wednesday with a minor hamstring problem and will play sparingly although he’s dressing.
“Chris will get more playing time,” Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said. “He was scheduled to get a lot anyway.
“I’m looking for consistency in Chris. He’s a very good athlete. He knows his assignments fairly well. The knock on Chris in the past is consistency catching the football.
“He’s had an excellent camp. He’s caught everything thrown to him. I’m pleased with his progress so far.”
The Stamps will play two Canadians for a decent portion of their five-receiver package this season. Johnny Forzani is the starter at the wideout spot, and Anthony Parker and Arjei Franklin are duelling to be his backup.
Jabari Arthur was the extra non-import slot receiver last season, and he’s had a solid camp as well, but he won’t play Friday due to a hamstring injury.
That should give Bauman even more of a chance to shine, although Arthur is feeling comfortable in what he’s done.
“Obviously you want to play,” said Arthur, who was drafted in the same first round as Bauman in 2007. “I will be ready for when the bullets are live and real. My goals haven’t changed at all.
“I think the coaches know what they have with me. I’m going into my fifth season. With competition, it’s always better to be out there and performing.
“Hopefully I’ve done enough so far in camp where I’m not put in a tough situation. I hope the coaches know what they have in me. I think I should be OK.”