August 26, 2012
Hoggies made it happen
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
Jon Cornish read the body language and could tell his personal protectors were focused.
Jon Gott could tell the Saskatchewan Roughriders were in trouble just by looking into the eyes of his offensive linemates.
On a blustery Saturday afternoon in Regina, the Calgary Stampeders hoggies went out on a mission.
No matter how many players stood in front of them hoping to cut down their star running back, they were going to be the victors.
“There was a rumour somewhere that we weren’t that physical an offensive line,” right tackle J’Micheal Deane said Sunday, still savouring a 17-10 ground-and-pound victory.
“We had a mindset to go out there and dominate the line of scrimmage.
“We wanted to prove the naysayers wrong. We wanted to change perspective on that.”
A month ago, Cornish had a game where he managed to get minus-1 rushing yard on six carries.
My how things have changed with the Stampeders ground attack.
With Deane kicking out to right tackle from left guard and Spencer Wilson getting activated at his vacated spot, the offensive line seems to have found the right mix.
Cornish piled up 159 yards Saturday, while the team had 185 overall along the ground as it used an early lead to roll over the Riders.
“They played very physical,” Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said about his offensive line. “They had to in order to get as many rushing yards as we had.
“Jon Cornish had a spectacular game. He used the holes that were there and he made some holes that weren’t there.”
There might be one important reason as to why the Stamps were able to dominate with their offensive line.
For the first time this season, the Stamps started the same five players as the previous week.
“That was the toughest thing,” said Gott, who has started the past seven games at centre. “When you have a new guy in every week, or sometimes two new guys, it’s hard to have chemistry.
“We’ve been together for two weeks now, so we’re feeling pretty good now. We know what each of us are going to do now.”
There were several times the Riders put eight or nine players in the box with the idea they could gang up on Cornish.
Each time, Cornish gained positive yardage, building confidence each time he pushed back three or four tacklers.
“Personally, that’s why I’m as pleased with the game as I am,” said Cornish, who has vaulted himself into the league rushing lead.
“They tried as hard as they could and it was still not working. Unless they decided to stop covering the receivers, there’s not much more you can do.
“In the first few games, there were stacked boxes, but my game has evolved much more to be able to deal with it.
“Occasionally, they had penetration into the backfield, but we had five blockers and they had eight in the box. We dealt with it.
“We kept pushing them around. I was once 30 yards downfield and (right guard) Dimitri Tsoumpas and Spencer Wilson were standing beside me pushing guys around.
“The stuff like that is a mindset. The O-line came out yesterday with the mindset of dominance. You could see it.
“Maybe you play 100 times and you only get to see things that are truly remarkable like that every once in a while.”