July 29, 2012
Stamps run game off to walking start
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The bye-week is like a mid-season vacation — for everyone but the head coach.
The Calgary Stampeders will have a couple of weeks to lick their wounds after Saturday’s 34-8 CFL thrashing at the hands of the B.C. Lions.
But while the players will get a week off to relax, GM/head coach John Hufnagel won’t even have a few extra minutes to watch the Olympics.
“Right now, that’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Hufnagel said of turning on the tube.
He’s got bigger fish to fry.
And it starts with his team’s non-existent run game.
The Stamps have rushed for just 374 yards through five tilts, which is second last in the CFL to the pass-happy Montreal Alouettes.
The club’s 4.0-yards-per-rush is dead last.
Running back Jon Cornish had six carries for minus-1 yards Saturday night and was visibly frustrated.
He lit up his offensive line after the game.
And while Hufnagel would rather keep those criticisms in the locker-room, he didn’t disagree with what Cornish had to say.
“He’s frustrated, as he should be,” Hufnagel said. “I think he regrets, a little bit the things he said. I don’t think they were overboard, but I’d prefer him not to say those types of things.
“We have to learn to be a pro, and it’s just a stepping stone in his career. It was a very frustrating evening for Jon and the whole offence. We did not play very well as an offensive line.”
Cornish started the season with an 86-yard, two-TD effort against the Als.
Since then, he’s had games of 39, 36, 39 and minus-1 yards to go along with one major.
Hufnagel was most concerned with his squad’s inability to move the pile in short-yardage situations.
“We couldn’t convert on 2nd-and-2,” Hufnagel said. “You’re just looking for a yard at the least, so you can go for it on third down.
“We have to regroup and understand where we need to get better.”
It got to the point where Hufnagel called a deep pass play on a 3rd-and-2 in the fourth quarter.
It worked, too, as Kevin Glenn and Johnny Forzani hooked up for a 36-yard gain, but the receiver fumbled inside the Lions 15-yard line.
Hufnagel said he’s confident Forzani will bounce back after a couple of rough outings.
“He’s had two tough games, so he has to regroup and understand the next time out, he has to do better,” Hufnagel said.
“It was a good throw and a good catch. He just wasn’t able to hang onto it once contact was made.
The offensive line is already under fire.
And now it appears there will be a change due to injury.
Import right tackle Na’Shan Goddard left Saturday’s tilt and may not be back for awhile.
“He’s going to get a second opinion,” Hufnagel said. “But it looks like he has a torn ACL.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-lb., 29-year-old is in his first season in the CFL.
Hufnagel said he may spend the bye-week shopping for an offensive lineman.
“Quite possibly, yes,” Hufnagel said.
“I’ll be talking to our director of player personnel about the things we’d like to do over the next couple weeks. We are a little bit nicked, so, hopefully, this extra time will allow people to heal up and get back on the field.”
The Stamps return to action Thursday, Aug. 9, in Hamilton against Henry Burris and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher