Tidy up time for Stampeders

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:26 AM ET

CALGARY - When Gang Green came into McMahon Stadium Wednesday, the big news was one of their inspirational Canadian receivers is out for months, maybe even the year.

Don’t expect the Calgary Stampeders to feel too sorry for the Saskatchewan Roughriders because Rob Bagg is going on the nine-game injured list with another knee injury.

On Wednesday, the Stamps put quarterback Drew Tate (shoulder), linebacker Demetrice Morley (shoulder) and Canadian receiver Jabari Arthur (hamstring) on the nine-game list.

Oh yeah … and the 1-2 Stampeders need to get back on a winning track against the 3-0 Roughriders (7 p.m., TSN, McMahon Stadium).

The Bagg injury, which was suffered Saturday against the B.C. Lions but not diagnosed fully until Tuesday, might be the only negative thing to happen to the Riders in 2012.

“This is our first test of adversity,” Riders head coach Corey Chamblin said.

“We have quality guys and we know they can step in and be ready to go.”

While the Riders are shuffling around their offence to replace Bagg, the Stamps are doing plenty of juggling on both sides of the ball.

Yet, the biggest thing the Stamps need to correct against the Riders is the turnover problems.

With nine giveaways in three games, the Stamps are last in the CFL in that category, with the biggest one being an interception thrown by Kevin Glenn late last week against the Montreal Alouettes that cost them a win.

The Riders, meanwhile, have yet to cough up the football on offence. When you play solid defence and get big plays on special teams — such as Tristan Jackson’s missed field goal touchdown last week against the Lions — winning is easy.

“Turnovers are a strange thing,” Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said. “Sometimes you need to be reminded how deadly they are.

“You need the mindset that the first thing you need to do is protect the football through hell or high water.

“When you relax in that mindset, some bad things happen. Saskatchewan is doing an excellent job in protecting the ball.”

One thing that would help the Stamps offence would be to get running back Jon Cornish going.

In two starts against the Riders in 2011, Cornish had yardage from scrimmage totals of 181 and 113 in victories at McMahon Stadium.

Through three games this season, Cornish has just a 4.6-yard rushing average, although he would argue two of those outings came against the Montreal Alouettes, traditionally a tough team to run against. Against the Riders, the Stamps would like to establish the run instead of trying to use the passing game to open things up for Cornish.

“He’s an elite running back, so you have to make it a focus,” Stamps starting quarterback Glenn said. “Other teams are going to make (stopping him) a focus, so we have to, creatively, figure out how to get him the ball.”

As much as it hurts to remove a starting receiver — Bagg had nine catches for 69 yards in three games — the Riders might miss him more emotionally.

The Queen’s Golden Gaels product took a long road back from two ACL surgeries, but now he’s dealing with the same injury is his other knee.

“It’s one of this things that is so unfortunate,” said Riders receiver Weston Dressler.

“Seeing what he’s done to get back on the field, and how excited he was during the first few weeks, it kinda breaks your heart to see him go through it again.”


Videos

Photos