Calgary Stampeders rookies weather the storm

Stampeders defensive lineman Ben D'Aguilar looks like he can use some windshield wipers during a...

Stampeders defensive lineman Ben D'Aguilar looks like he can use some windshield wipers during a rainy training camp. Photo by Mike Drew/Calgary Sun

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

CALGARY - It’s like a cruel, never-ending joke.

Every time the Calgary Stampeders set foot on the McMahon Stadium turf, the skies open up.

Friday’s pre-season tilt was played in a downpour.

And the weekend walk-through also began in the rain.

Rookie defensive lineman Ben D’Aguilar just shakes his head.

“The second we came out on the field (Saturday), it was raining,” D’Aguilar said. “That seems to be the trend. Whenever we have football operations, the rain comes down.

“The second we get off the field … it’s like the birth scene from The Lion King,” he said referring to the sun coming out of the clouds.

D’Aguilar suffered a bruised knee during Friday’s CFL pre-season 29-27 loss to the B.C. Lions, when he slipped on the slick McMahon Stadium turf during a punt coverage.

Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel says the second-round pick in this year’s draft is doubtful for Thursday’s game in Regina against the host Saskatchewan Roughriders (8 p.m., AM770), but D’Aguilar says he’s recovering.

“It feels a lot better,” said the McMaster University product. “It’s probably more stiff than anything. It’s not too serious at all.”

D’Aguilar is excited to get back on the field now that his pro debut is behind him.

“I don’t really get nervous,” said the 6-foot-2, 252-lb. lineman. “But for the first couple of plays, I thought ‘OK, this is a little bit nerve-wracking.’

“After you get that first play under your belt and you get your first lick, you feel pretty natural.”

Hufnagel says he’ll be looking to see more — from the youngsters and the vets — Thursday night.

“I expect everyone to improve, so I guess I expect more from everybody,” Hufnagel said. “But I’d especially like to see the young guys take another step forward.

“Some guys came out and made some great plays. I’d like to see that wasn’t a one-time thing.”

One newcomer who fits into that category is receiver Yannick Morin-Plante.

The third-round pick in last month’s CFL Draft hauled in a 43-yard pickup — the biggest offensive play of the night — in Friday’s loss to the Lions.

“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning,” Morin-Plante admitted. “But as soon as we had the first play — that’s when I went in — it was OK.

“So I’m really happy for my first game.”

The 6-foot, 195-lb. speedster from Laval University was all smiles after coming up with his big play in front of his teammates.

“It was right in front of our bench,” Morin-Plante said. “It was a nice pass from the quarterback (Bo Levi Mitchell).

“Of course, when you make plays, it’s a boost for your confidence.”

Morin-Plante says he noticed the intensity was turned up a notch in the pre-season tilt.

“It was faster in the game,” said the 6-foot, 195 lb. product of Drummondville, Que. “It’s faster in the huddle — it’s faster on the field.”

He’ll get another shot to show off his wheels Thursday night.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

www.twitter,com/SUNScottFisher


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