Stamps lineman jacked to be playing at McMahon

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

When Odell Willis was starring at the University of West Georgia, an important game might get 4,000 fans if the Wolves were lucky.

So when he says this Labour Day meeting is 10 times bigger, he's not joking.

There will be more than 40,000 people at today's Labour Day meeting with the Edmonton Eskimos due to temporary seating.

"This is the biggest crowd in my life," said the Calgary Stampeders defensive end. "I'm amped for this. I love it. It doesn't make me nervous.

"I want to hear 41,000 screaming. I want to give the fans something extra than just coming to the game and seeing their team win."

West Georgia just opened a new 9,500-seat stadium on its campus, but they didn't have anything like that when Willis played.

So the 24-year-old picked a good time to be a rookie to the Labour Day Classic. The team added extra seating for the Grey Cup this November and opened another 5,000 seats over normal capacity.

The question now is who are those people going to be cheering for? The Stamps practised with crowd noise this week just to make sure they were ready in case Eskimos fans flood the building.

"We don't really know what to anticipate in terms of the extra seating," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris.

"There might be noise makers passed out. With the metal bleachers adding noise and noise makers, we have to tell our fans to have a great time but not to make too much racket when we're on the field."

When these two teams last hooked up, Burris and Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray put on an offensive showing worthy of two pivots who are Grey Cup MVPs.

After the Eskimos won 38-35 on a last-second touchdown pass from Ray to Fred Stamps, the Red & White started questioning their defence, making several changes.

It wasn't all that glorious for the Eskimos defence, which also gave up a final-minute strike from Burris to Jeremaine Copeland.

"To be honest, we thought it was over," said Eskimos defensive tackle Dario Romero. "That's no fun. We thought the rollercoaster ride has to end soon."

The Eskimos didn't get much better last week in a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Despite winning 31-30, it was tense for Eskimos defence again as their offence drove for the winning field goal.

They have made some changes but have suffered without middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd and the secondary still ranks last in the CFL for interceptions.

"We have to look at how we've been giving up big plays," Romero said.

"We have to figure out how to avoid those big plays and what we've been doing wrong.

"It really comes down to four plays in the game that can win or lose it.

"If we take away some big plays, then some of our anxiety will go away."

When the Stamps lost to the Eskimos, they managed to put up 479 yards passing.

They would take a much less entertaining game and a victory if they could, but Stamps head coach John Hufnagel doesn't expect it to be easy on offence.

"The only number that really matters is the one at the end. It was an offensive night in Edmonton," Hufnagel said.

"I'm sure they will make adjustments to the things we were able to accomplish in the last game.

"They won the first one. We have to win the second one, and we'll figure it out from there."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos