Paopao tosses kudos Condell's way

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Joe Paopao could have given the game ball to any number of his players Saturday night.

The game hug was reserved for his quarterback/receivers coach.

"Thomas, helluva job," Paopao said as he embraced Tommy Condell following a thorough 33-18 dissection of the Calgary Stampeders. "Great game plan, great calling."

Indeed, in sitting down before the control panel for the third time, Condell pushed all the right buttons.

Of the 64 times quarterback Kerry Joseph took the ball from centre, the Renegades passed 32 times and ran 32 times. A week after recording just 10 first downs, they had 27 against the Stamps, including 13 along the ground, 13 via air and one on a Calgary penalty.

Against a decent defence, the Renegades amassed an impressive 563 total net yards, with 318 from Joseph's right arm (on 23 completions) and 245 on rushes by Josh Ranek (20 carries,164 yards), Joseph (11 carries, 68 yards) and Jason Armstead (one carry, 13 yards).

They also gave their defence plenty of rest, keeping possession of the ball for 37:45 of the game.

An offence that most kindly would be described as inconsistent through the first three weeks finally clicked for almost an entire game -- just when you probably wondered if it ever would.

"We were concerned about that, too," admitted receiver Yo Murphy. "When you work so hard week in and week out with no results, you start to wonder what's going on. It's not like you're giving up, but you can only say you have a good offence for so long before you've got to show it. I'm not saying we're going to do what we did (Saturday) night every week, but now, everybody believes 100% that we can."

As he did so often last season, Murphy led the way. The team's classy, 34-year-old elder statesman was declared the offensive player of the game by this newspaper because he scored both of Ottawa's offensive touchdowns (on catches of 50 and 10 yards) and was the night's top receiver with six catches for 132 yards. While Pat Woodcock and Sean Bennett were the only two Renegades receivers not to catch a pass, Joseph divided the ball evenly to Ranek (five catches, 48 yards), Frank Cutolo (four catches, 56 yards), Markus Howell (four catches, 54 yards) and Armstead (four catches, 28 yards). But Murphy continues to be his go-to guy in the money zone.

For the Renegades, today means preparing for the Eskimos, who provide the opposition at the end of a short week when they visit Frank Clair Stadium on Thursday.

RENEGER HERVEY DOUBTFUL

Ottawa was hammered 41-16 by the Esks in its season opener at Commonwealth Stadium June 24, but the Green and Gold looked quite beatable in a 14-12 win over Winnipeg on the weekend.

Also, it appears Edmonton could be visiting the nation's capital without two of its top players.

Receiver Ed Hervey will probably have to renege on a promise to provide Renegades fans with a target to hurl insults at, as he injured a hip in the Bombers game. High-priced cornerback Davis Sanchez is also doubtful after damaging a hamstring.

The Renegades lost a couple of players Saturday as well. Defensive end Kai Ellis will likely miss from 1-3 weeks after reaggravating a bad ankle. But an Ottawa defence that was solid against Calgary won't miss a beat with his absence as Anthony Collier will return to the lineup looking to build on his team-leading five sacks, which all came against the B.C. Lions in Week 3.

Defensive back Da'Shann Austin is doubtful for this week's game after suffering his second concussion in three weeks.

Paopao, meanwhile, will do his best to ensure the players don't rest on their laurels.

"We needed that," he said after the Calgary win, which he referred to as the the team's best game of the season. "We've been inching toward this direction ... we played three tough teams (the first three weeks) and we finally gave the fans something to really support."


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