Stampeders O-line vows improvement

Calgary Stampeders OL, Edwin Harrison during practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Tuesday...

Calgary Stampeders OL, Edwin Harrison during practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Tuesday August 2 2011. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

CALGARY - Time, they say, heals all wounds.

The Calgary Stampeders offensive line looked refreshed and rejuvenated as they returned to practice Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

The o-line left town a week ago with their tails between their legs after running back Jon Cornish was held to minus-1 yard rushing in a convincing loss to the B.C. Lions.

Cornish vented his frustration following the game, calling out the performance of the big men up front.

Import offensive lineman Edwin Harrison agreed with his running back.

"I didn't put any type of blame on Jon or on (LaMarcus) Coker," Harrison said.

"I said from the get-go, we have to be great as an offensive line.

"We have to be able to run the ball and protect the quarterback. And we did not do that last week."

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder said he shares Cornish's dissatisfaction and said the focus of the next few days will be to get the line working together.

"It's very frustrating," Harrison said. "We know that the run game and the pass game -- the success of this football team -- is dependent upon us playing well as an offensive line.

"Our coach talked to us. We'll have four guys being on the same page and one guy won't be.

"On the offensive line, five guys have to be on the exact same page, doing the exact same thing at the exact same time for us to be successful."

Fellow hoggie Dimitri Tsoumpas agreed working as a cohesive unit is the answer.

"As always, it's continuity," Tsoumpas said. " We have to get on the same page.

"We have a new o-line coach, a couple of new guys in the lineup. Things can look a little sloppy at times just because you don't have that continuity as a group that you need, especially with the parity in this league right now.

"If you're not quite at that level, it really shows."

Harrison, in his third season with the Red & White, said a bit of soul-searching is needed before the team will start hitting on all cylinders.

Instead of passing the buck, he started by looking in the mirror.

"We have to continue to get better," he said. "We must get better. I must get better. I did not have a particularly good game at all.

"That falls on us. We take full responsibility. This is a veteran group. I know we're young, but guys have played a lot of football in this group.

"We will get better. I will get better. I know that."

The bye week came at a good time for head coach John Hufnagel, who was able to dissect film and come up with some solutions.

And it came early enough in the season that the Stamps have plenty of time to get back on track.

"It's a long season," Harrison said. "There's 18 games and we've played five of 'em.

"We've done some good things as an offence and some not-so-good things.

"The great thing is we have nowhere near come close to reaching our potential."

Tsoumpas, who spent the bye week working out in Calgary, said every offensive lineman looks forward to running the ball.

"You want to be the hammer rather than the nail," he said. "Everyone here is talented. It's just a mental thing, maybe a few things technique-wise.

"Once we get it, we're going to be rolling."

Stamps add linemen

The Stamps added import defensive linemen Dorian Smith and Hilee Taylor to the practice roster.

Smith played 36 games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 2009-11.

Taylor was selected in the seventh round (221st overall) by the Carolina Panthers in the 2008 NFL Draft. After three seasons with the Panthers, he was claimed on waivers by the Detroit Lions.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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