Stampeders set to face Calvillo

Anthony Calvillo, Sept. 18, 2011. (QMI Agency/MARIE-CLAUDE FOREST)

Anthony Calvillo, Sept. 18, 2011. (QMI Agency/MARIE-CLAUDE FOREST)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 PM ET

KINGSTON, ONT. - KINGSTON, Ont. — You can’t believe everything you read online.

Case in point, Monday’s report that legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo was no sure-thing for Thursday’s CFL clash against the Calgary Stampeders.

It’s true the Montreal Alouettes’ star gunslinger has a sore shoulder, but he was an active participant in Tuesday’s practice and told reporters afterward, “I’m feeling good and plan to play.”

Three hours down the road in Kingston, the Stamps weren’t exactly waiting for the official word.

“There was no question in my mind — I didn’t believe it for one single second,” said Stamps middle linebacker Juwan Simpson. “I know what type of guy Calvillo is. I’ve had he pleasure of meeting him and being around him, and he’s a competitor. All he wants to do is win. If he’s walking, and he’s able to throw, he’s going to be on the field.”

The 39-year-old quarterback suffered a bruise on his non-throwing shoulder in a 41-30 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last Friday. Calvillo finished the game after a brief trip to the locker-room but had doctors examine the injury earlier this week, prompting speculation about his availability for Thursday’s date with the Stamps (5:30 p.m., TSN, QR77).

Turns out, it was much ado about nothing.

“I would believe it when I see, that probably would be the right way to put it,” said Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel. “Anthony’s a very tough individual. I know if he has any slight, remote chance to play, he will play.”

“I’m sure he was banged up, and you always expect the worse after an injury,” agreed Stamps defensive back Brandon Smith. “But I figured he’d be in the training room also, doing whatever he needed to do to be ready for this game. I kinda figured he’d be playing.”

Smith, too, has been logging extra hours with the medical staff but showed no ill-effects of a sprained knee during Tuesday’s practice session at Queen’s University, the Stamps’ only full workout to prepare for a rematch of their season-opening victory over the Alouettes.

Running back LaMarcus Coker (knee) was also running around and should be good to go, although the Stamps will make several lineup adjustments for the second outing of their extended eastern road-trip.

The big change is at quarterback, where well-travelled Kevin Glenn moves to the top of the depth chart for the foreseeable future after Drew Tate suffered a dislocated left shoulder in Saturday’s 39-36 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

Jon Gott will start at centre after two weeks of watching Mark Dewit snap the ball, while Na’Shan Goddard will staff the right tackle position and Stanley Bryant will slide over to man the blind-side.

Elsewhere, Jabari Arthur will suit up at slotback, Kenny Pettway will see action at defensive end, and Jamar Wall will make his three-down football debut in the secondary.

“We’re just trying to find the best fits,” Hufnagel said. “The season is still young. We’re just experimenting every week trying to become the best team we can be.”

To be the best team on the field this week at Percival Molson Stadium, they’ll have to once again stop the CFL’s all-time passing leader, a guy they limited to just 174 yards through the air and picked off twice in a 38-10 rout over the Alouettes on Canada Day.

Calvillo’s backup is fleet-footed Adrian McPherson, who brings a completely different skill-set to the turf.

“They’re two good quarterbacks, and they both can beat you,” Simpson added. “That’s just one man out of 12 you have to worry about. They’re still Montreal. They’re still a team. That’s what you have to prepare for.”

wes.gilberston@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson


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