Pain pulls punch from backfield

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Bringing in both Josh Ranek and Corey Holmes was supposed to give the Hamilton Tiger-Cats a brilliant one-two punch at running back.

Since the new season started, one arm has been tied behind Ticats head coach Greg Marshall's back.

Ranek pulled his groin early in Week 1's loss to the Toronto Argonauts, leaving Holmes to carry the load.

Holmes turned his ankle early in Week 2's loss the Montreal Alouettes, leaving Ranek to try and lift the Ticats to a comeback.

Neither worked. And Holmes won't play tonight against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m.), leaving Ranek all by himself -- again.

They were planning on taking each other off the field to give opposing defences headaches. They weren't supposed to have the aches themselves.

"I pray his injury is healed fast and he's back in a short amount of time," Ranek said yesterday upon arriving to Calgary. "Hopefully Corey gets back soon because it's one more threat the defence has to worry about.

"It will be great when we're both in the game at the same time. Starting off this season, we haven't had that yet. All in due time, because things should work themselves out."

If there is any consolation, the Stamps have never found a solution to Ranek in the past.

The Little Ball of Hate has put up big numbers against Calgary, particularly in the past two seasons with the Ottawa Renegades.

Ranek ran the ball 20 times for 164 yards as Ottawa beat Calgary in Week 3 of 2005.

The Stamps weren't worried who they would face at running back against the Ticats -- Ranek or Holmes.

They have, at times, shut both down, including the last time Calgary faced Ranek late last season.

"We build our defence around a scheme, not around certain players," said Stamps linebacker John Grace. "We line up and let the offence adjust to us."


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