Esks' Nichols, Stamps finding chemistry
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback Matt Nichols makes a pass against the Calgary Stampeders during their CFL football game in Edmonton November 2, 2012. (REUTERS)
From the moment Matt Nichols and Fred Stamps hooked up for a TD on the first pass Nichols threw in Montreal, a certain chemistry has formed.
The rookie starting quarterback and star receiver have now combined on three TD passes in the last two Edmonton Eskimos games.
And while Lady Luck has been frowning on the Eskimos this season, she owes the team during its playoff run.
"Matt Nichols, you know, he's a good quarterback," said Stamps. "He's real calm in the pocket. When he's in the huddle, he brings power to the huddle. He tells everybody it's time to step up. He's a real leader."
After a patented slow start, the Eskimos battled back from an early 20-3 deficit to make a game of it.
It may have been a coaching error, an untimely time out, a roughing the quarterback call or a botched field-goal attempt that cost the Eskimos a win on Friday night.
There was no shortage of miscues and questionable calls that denied the Eskimos. It'll go down in the record books as yet another comeback that fell short.
Nichols completed 18 of 30 attempts for 341 yards.
Stamps was his go-to guy, with six catches for 152 yards.
"Nobody can put their finger on it," said Stamps. "The main thing, you look at our team and we're never going to quit fighting. We could be down, but we have trust in our team."
Cary Koch stayed in the game long enough to grab the other TD pass thrown by Nichols.
"He had a good game," Koch said of Nichols's performance. "He was really finding the open guy and exploiting their defence."
Like Stamps, Koch recognizes the intangible that sets Nichols apart.
"He just commands the offence," said Koch. "He's a born leader and he just leads out there. There's not much wavering. You know what you're going to get.
"Him just running there at the end to get the first down -- he gives it 110%. Whether he's running the ball or whatever he's doing, he's a solid player."
Koch sees a huge change in Nichols's confidence level since the start of the year and how he has blossomed into a potential starter and a future star in this league.
"Really, working under Kerry (Joseph) and Steven (Jyles) this year, he's just grown a lot," said Koch. "He's just a solid player. You can see how much he's stepping into this role now. He's kinda just ready to take over."
Given the fact Nichols only found out he was going to start shortly after he woke up Friday morning makes his performance that much more remarkable.
"For him to get ready like that says a lot about him," said Koch. "You prep all week, but if you're starting or not, that's a different mindset. He's just a pro about it, always preparing like he's starting.
"Props to him for coming in and having a good game."