O-line looking out for No. 1
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
|Calgary Stampeders offensive line is shown at practice August 4, 2012 in Calgary, AB.
The team returned to practice from a bye week and prepare for their next game Aug 18 after being trounced by BC Lions. (QMI Agency/JIM WELLS)
CALGARY - Last year at this time, J'Micheal Deane was quarterback-hunting.
Now he's the QB's personal bodyguard.
Deane said he's happy with his switch from the defensive line to the offensive line because "I like being the fat guy."
The 6-foot-5, 312-pounder is far from fat, and his athleticism has been a welcome addition to the Stampders offensive line.
"I'm glad to be back on offence headhunting again," he said of playing right tackle, a spot he lined up at in college.
"I like working with the guys and we're really starting to gel as a unit."
It's a unit that was under all kinds of pressure just one month ago when the Red & White ground game was non-existent.
But after a few tremendous weeks, running back Jon Cornish sits atop the rushing charts.
"Cornish is always going to make somebody miss," Deane said.
"As long as we can get the first five blocked, Cornish is going to make the sixth or seventh guy miss.
"Basically, we have to get a nice push, and Cornish will make something happen after that.
"If you can win in the trenches, that's when your running game is really going to explode."
Deane, 26, said the line takes pride in paving the way for the league's leading rusher.
"If Cornish is number one, it means we're doing our job," Deane said.
"Now, we have to keep him at number one."
Veteran O-lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas said the hoggies are now on the same page and are starting to develop continuity.
"We just feed off each other," Tsoumpas said. "It's a synergistic-type thing.
"We're playing with intensity and fire, and Cornish is running the ball hard.
"As long as he's running the ball hard, I don't have a problem. He'll make us look good and we'll try to make him look good."
This is an important week for the 6-foot-4, 315 pounder.
Labour Day Classic aside, he gets to play against his hometown team.
"I'm looking forward to it," the Edmonton product said.
"It's my hometown up there, so it's a big thing every time we get to play them and kick their butts."
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher