CALGARY - There are a few fresh faces.
And a number of the new Calgary Stampeders who survived final cutdown day are expected to make a major impact this season.
Defensive end Shawn Lemon will play an integral role opposite Charleston Hughes.
And defensive back Jonathan Hefney, who scooped up LaMarcus Coker’s No. 1 jersey after the running back was cut loose Saturday, could also become a household name at McMahon Stadium in short order.
But the nucleus of the offence remains unchanged.
Drew Tate will throw the ball.
Nik Lewis will catch it.
And Jon Cornish will run with it.
Tate was anointed the starting pivot before training camp even began.
And while his pre-season numbers weren’t overwhelming, he’ll likely need a few games to find his stride.
Tate hasn’t played much football over the past half-dozen seasons.
The good news is Kevin Glenn has proven his ability to come off the bench and rally the team, if need be.
Lewis has been the very definition of consistency over his career, and there’s no reason to doubt he’ll eclipse 1,000 yards again.
A full season with playmakers like Maurice Price on the field should give the powerful slotback a little more room to work with.
Cornish will have trouble duplicating last season’s monster numbers (1,457 yards rushing).
But if this offence is clicking, behind what appears to be a solid offensive line, Cornish won’t need to be Superman for this team to put up ‘W’s.
On the other side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see what Hughes is capable of in 2013.
Finishing one sack off the CFL lead last season, Hughes wants the crown, although he’s keeping his personal goals to himself.
The secondary is skilled, but beaten-up.
Eric Fraser and Keenan MacDougall have been on the limp, along with cover linebacker Keon Raymond, who is irreplaceable.
The addition of Hefney, if he can return to his 2011 form, definitely helps.
There’s a few other newcomers on the roster who will see regular playing time.
Right tackle Dan Federkeil is the furthest thing from a rookie, having won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts.
But, after overcoming concussion issues, this will be his first CFL campaign.
Rookie centre Brett Jones also has an opportunity to seize a starting gig.
Quarterback-turned-receiver Brad Sinopoli was impressive throughout camp as he adjusted to his new position, and he may get a chance to shine while fellow Canadians Johnny Forzani and Chris Bauman recover from injuries.
Import receiver Tim Hawthorne beat out a trio of highly regarded rookies to earn his spot, and if Joe West isn’t ready to go, the North Alabama product is ready to go.
After falling one game shy of their ultimate goal last November, a massive overhaul of the roster wasn’t needed.
The Stampeders are
hoping a few upgrades are enough to push them over the top.