Stampeders' Mitchell one hit away from starting

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:11 AM ET

CALGARY - The news is good for Bo Levi Mitchell.

But it’s not like the Calgary Stampeders quarterback, who is now second on the depth chart behind Kevin Glenn, is going to celebrate.

With the fact No. 1 quarterback Drew Tate has opted for shoulder surgery which could keep him out four months — and possibly the rest of the season — Mitchell is one play away from being the main man under centre.

It’s a big opportunity and a huge responsibility for the 22-year-old out of Eastern Washington University.

That’s especially true in light of the fact Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel said he has no immediate plans to bring in a veteran quarterback as insurance should Glenn be injured.

“Absolutely. You always want to hear that, always want to hear your job’s stable, but at the same time, you can’t be complacent,” said Mitchell, the first-year pro from Texas. “If you go in there and keep messing up and not showing you’re ready, they will replace you.

“It’s professional football, and they’re going to put in there the best players they can find. In my mind, I’m going to play it as if they’re looking to replace you, so go out there and keep fighting, keep getting better and keep being ready to play.”

Mitchell, who has been holding for field goals and running the short-yardage offence since the curtain lifted on the CFL season, doesn’t foresee any big changes to his gameplan — well … other than the fact he’s scheduled to be “one play away” possibly for the rest of the season.

“You’re glad to be in that position as a backup, but you don’t want to be in that position because of what happened. You don’t want to be in there because of an injury,” Mitchell said.

“But being one play away, you’ve got to be on the sidelines, thinking, ‘OK, I’m ready to go.’ It could be one series — a guy tweaks an ankle and has to get it re-taped — so you have to go in and keep the offence going.

“That’s the only mindset I have about it, because whether you’re a third-stringer or a backup, if you’re not preparing like a starter, you’re not doing it right.

“It could be an injury or somebody could get pulled, so you have to be ready to go at any moment. My mindset hasn’t changed. I’m ready to go any time.”

Mitchell has done all that could be asked of him so far.

He scored a pair of touchdowns on short-yardage plays during the Stampeders 33-32 loss to the host Montreal Alouettes last week.

He also perfectly executed a fake field-goal attempt and converted a first down with a 10-yard scamper, which led to one of his majors. Now, though, he’s on the verge of seeing more action than just in those two scenarios.

That means, in preparation, he’ll probably have a hotline to Tate for advice.

“Drew is the No. 1 person I turn to. From Game 1, he’s been he’s been helping me. He knows the offence best and has been helping me when I need advice or anything,” Mitchell said.

“It can even be something he’s seeing, because four eyes are better than two.

“Him watching defences is just going to help my game.”


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