Hamilton Hottie a rising star

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

Sometimes you can be just plain wrong.

Case in point - a prediction I once made on the Hamilton Ticats Jesse Lumsden.

Back in September of 2005 two seemingly high-profile non-import running backs surfaced on CFL rosters as the Edmonton Eskimos brought in Dahrran Diedrick and Steeltown was abuzz with the arrival of Lumsden "the Hamilton Hottie".

At that time on "Total Sports" on the Team 1260, I flat out said that Lumsden would be incapable of carrying Diedrick's jock,.Diedrick starred at Nebraska. I even made a little wager with Jesse's father ex-Eskimo Neil, about what kind of success his son would enjoy in the CFL.

Fast-forward to a couple of seasons later and Lumsden is leading the CFL in rushing with 554 yards and putting up a ridiculous 9.4 yards per carry. Diedrick is a non-factor on his second CFL club, the Montreal Alouettes.

Can't get them right all the time! But you should admit when you were wrong, right?

As many of you know, Lumsden was a big star for Greg Marshall at McMaster in the CIS.

What most of you don't know is that McMaster plays in the "lifeboat division" of CIS, the OUA Conference.

Why "lifeboat division?"

Easy, women and children first, men last, of course.

Lumsden won the 2004 Hec Crighton Trophy as CIS Player of the Year after setting a single season CIS rushing record with 1816 yards on 178 carries.

Although Lumsden was deserving of the award, 2004 marked the fifth straight year a player from the OUA had been named CIS Player of the Year. That streak has now been extended to seven years, a remarkable accomplishment for a Conference that has only once in the last decade advanced to the Vanier Cup.

Most CIS experts would suggest that the Ontario-centric nature of the Hec Crighton occurs because players put up inflated numbers against bad OUA teams that would lose to a good Quebec CEGEP program.

I had that view, and it jaundiced my opinion of Lumsden, especially in relation to Diedrick. Two years later there is little debate.

Lumsden is THE rising star of the CFL, a ratio-changer who could be the league's biggest draw in another year or two. Diedrick never realized his potential.

SO LONG, A.J.

Time for A.J. Gass to shape up or ship out!

The Eskimo linebacker is supposed to be a heart-and-soul leader for the Green and Gold, but this team, and in particular the front seven cannot afford for Gass to blow his top again.

What happened last Saturday in the melee with the Calgary Stampeders was embarrassing and ultimately contributed to the Eskimos' loss, as Gass's ejection (which was the obvious call from the officials) put defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell in a helluva position.

The fact that Gass has overcome numerous injuries to continue to play is commendable, but the Eskimos need him on the field, as they have a very inexperienced linebacking corps. The Eskimos organization has been extremely loyal to Gass.

Some CFL teams would not have risked the kind of money Gass is making on a player that has had a recurring injury problem. When you factor in the ugly incident Gass had last year with Brock Ralph, you can add recurring on-field discipline issues in to the mix as well.

THERE WILL COME A DAY

There will come a time when Edmonton will need billionaire Daryl Katz, to help with the long-term growth of their beloved Oilers. It may not be for three to five years but hopefully Katz is still interested in the Oil and not owning a team elsewhere in the NHL.

As for right now the EIG, who proclaimed that the team is not for sale and rejected Katz's $185 million offer, will have to answer a couple of questions in the near future.

First off, how much of their own cash are they going to kick in for a downtown building?

Secondly, what is their long-term succession plan for their board and their shareholders, because the last time I checked, billionaires in Edmonton didn't grow on trees, and most fans probably think Katz is the type of guy who needs to be involved.

There is one more thing I have wondered about. How is it that Bruce Saville and Jim Hole, two of the largest shareholders on the EIG have not been on the 10-man EIG board for the last several years?

I realize that Hole and Saville were on the wrong side of the Glen Sather thing, but it strikes me as odd that two men who kicked in as much cash as Hole and Saville did originally aren't on the EIG board.

Interesting.


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