Coach Campbell one proud Canadian

Rick Campbell, who spent 2010 as the Stamps running backs coach, returns to the team to be...

Rick Campbell, who spent 2010 as the Stamps running backs coach, returns to the team to be defensive co-ordinator. (QMI AGENCY)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

CALGARY - Canada Day couldn’t have been much better for Rick Campbell.

In the morning, the Stampeders defensive co-ordinator and his wife, Geri, officially received their Canadian citizenship during a ceremony at Fort Calgary.

In the evening, his charges held the fort against the CFL’s most feared offence in a 38-10 shellacking of the Montreal Alouettes at McMahon Stadium.

“It just happened to be that (the ceremony) fell on July 1, so that made it quite neat that it was on Canada Day,” Campbell said.

“With the game and everything and being able to win, it was a great day for my wife and I.”

The soft-spoken Campbell is the son of legendary Edmonton Eskimos boss Hugh Campbell and has 14 years of CFL coaching experience on his own resumé, so he’s logged a lot of time in the Great White North.

Now, he and his wife are officially dual citizens. Sunday’s ceremony was the culmination of a lengthy application process.

“The thing that was an eye-opener for me is, I think, there were 80 of us and for most of the people in that group, it’s a life-changing deal for them,” Campbell said. “Obviously, it’s a big deal for me and my wife, but it’s not changing our lifestyle like it is for some other people. It was definitely a celebration. Many of those people are having a drastic life change and celebrating a new life.

“I’m very proud to officially call myself a Canadian. It’s not going to change my lifestyle, but it’s a big deal. My wife and I were talking about it — Canada has given us a life and a living, and we have a lot of respect for that. We’re glad we were able to do it.”

And what better way to celebrate than a convincing victory over the perennial Grey Cup contenders from Montreal with a dominant defensive showing?

CFL all-time passing leader Anthony Calvillo completed just over half his passes against Campbell’s unit, finishing 16-of-31 for 174 yards. He tossed one touchdown pass but was picked off twice, including Quincy Butler’s endzone interception that snuffed out a should-be scoring drive.

Reigning receiving champion Jamel Richardson, a guy who had a dozen 100-yard outings last season — including two against the Stamps — and has wondered aloud about the possibility of hitting the 2,000-yard mark in this campaign, was limited to five catches for 78 yards. After Richardson’s first reception, Stamps middle linebacker Juwan Simpson swatted the ball out of his hands and rookie safety Keenan MacDougall grabbed the fumble and delivered it to the house for a 63-yard touchdown.

Reigning rushing champion Brandon Whitaker managed just 43 yards on 11 carries. His average of 3.9 yards per attempt was his lowest since the second game of last season.

All told, Campbell’s defence surrendered only 208 yards of net offence in Sunday’s rout. No CFL team scored fewer points (10) or managed fewer first downs (11) than the Alouettes in the opening week of the season.

Not a bad debut for the guy tasked with replacing departed defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones, who now earns his cheques on the sidelines of the Toronto Argonauts. The Argos will welcome the Stamps in Week 2.

“You never know, for sure, how a game is going to go, but I’ve been around long enough and I know the players here, so I wasn’t shocked. I knew that it was going to be a huge challenge, but I’m not blown away or floored by it,” Campbell said. “It was a great start. It was a great win.”

It was a great day. 


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