Turntine's turnstile year finally on track

Renegades defensive end John Turntine says he and his teammates have never wavered from the system...

Renegades defensive end John Turntine says he and his teammates have never wavered from the system of defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry. (Errol McGihon, Ottawa Sun file photo)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

John Turntine no longer has to live with the anxiety that comes from status uncertainty. From now on, if the Renegades are playing, so is he.

"He won't come off the roster unless he's hurt," coach Joe Paopao said of the rookie defensive end/tackle, who was yesterday named the CFL's lineman of the week.

Turntine came off the roster -- from two games on the CFL's not so secret hiding spot known as injured reserve -- to register five tackles, a pass knockdown and a sack in Ottawa's 26-24 victory over the Stampeders Friday in Calgary. In doing so, the rookie out of Texas Christian University became just the fourth Renegade to receive league kudos this season, and the first since Kerry Joseph was named the top offensive player in Week 3.

PLEASANT SURPRISE

"Well deserved," said Paopao. "We thought a lot of guys played well, the whole (defensive) unit played well, but one of the top standouts was John. He's a good young player and if he continues to improve, he has a long future. He has to stay focused and play that way all the time. Good for him, good for us, but that's old news now. We need to make new news."

Turntine, a 6-foot-2, 262-pounder who has dropped almost 10 lbs. since coming to camp in a country he knew nothing of five months ago, has been a pleasant surprise for the Renegades since those first days in Kemptville. Rather unexpectedly, he cracked the roster and, while usually rotated onto the field, he generally marked the occasion by making a play when he's been between the lines.

Against the Stamps, however, he was in for almost every snap, and clearly made the most of the opportunity.

"I'm just here to play football and be a team player," said Turntine, who was "shocked" at how physical the league is. "Whatever they feel is fit, I understand it."

Saying the Renegades' defence has had its ups and downs this season is like saying there's a little security problem at Taylor Field in Regina. But Turntine says the players' belief in defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry's system has never wavered, even if Brad Watters' has.

"We've always believed in the schemes, and coach Etch," said Turntine, 26. "It's all about being patient, understanding and learning from our mistakes."

And maybe allowing young players like Turntine to grow.

EXTRA POINTS: Expected to arrive in Ottawa's camp this week is import WR Bashir Yamini, a large (6-foot-4, 210-lb.) target who played at Iowa and has been to two NFL (Dallas, Carolina) camps. Yamini is nothing if not athletic -- he won the 1998 NCAA indoor long jump championship and was the Big 10, 200-metre champ in 1999 with a time of 21.08 ... The Renegades will also look at two new defensive players in practice this week -- DB James Thornton and DL Raymond House. But that's probably it for additions this season, Paopao said yesterday. "These are guys we've looked at over the last month," he said. "We'll see if they can help us this year or whether we want to invite them to training camp." ... The Renegades are looking at making a minor trade involving a neg list player ... Saskatchewan RB Kenton Keith banged up a knee in Sunday's win over Hamilton but is listed as "probable" for the Renegades' visit next Sunday.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos