CALGARY — With both Henry Burris and Joffrey Reynolds officially out of the picture in Calgary, two new eras are set to begin in the Stampeders’ offensive backfield.
Yes, Drew Tate is the new starting quarterback for the Stamps, and Cornish will no longer have to worry about a future hall of famer breathing down his neck. These are both stories that have been well publicized throughout the course of the off-season.
However, as Tate’s anointment to the throne made headlines across the CFL community all winter long, General Manager and Head Coach John Hufnagel was busy ensuring that his quarterback would have a worthy support staff to do battle with.
Should Tate falter in his new role, Calgary will have a more-than-capable insurance policy standing behind him on the sidelines.
Veteran pivot Kevin Glenn was acquired in the Burris deal, and will likely be ready and willing on the sidelines as a backup.
Off the field, the Stampeders will welcome in Rick Campbell as their new defensive coordinator. Campbell replaces Dave Walkosky, who after being promoted to the same position in late December, resigned in favour of the Special Teams coordinator role at Georgia Tech.
In 2011, Campbell assumed the role of assistant head coach and special teams coordinator with the Edmonton Eskimos.
For the most part, Hufnagel stayed away from big-name free agents, but jumped at the opportunity of bringing on veteran linebacker Joe Lobendahn shortly after he was released by the Blue Bombers in early May.
He also added a trio of Canadian assets; 2011 draft pick Matt Walter, local product Jadon Wagner and veteran receiver Chris Bauman.
Hufnagel must firmly believe that his roster can once again do damage in the West, as he managed to secure several key pieces to it through the off-season.
Arjei Franklin, Landon Talley, Kevin Dixon, Rene Paredes, Brandon Smith, Justin Conn, Marc Calixte, J’Micheal Deane, Keon Raymond, Edwin Harrison, Jon Gott, Charleston Hughes and Cornish all signed extensions with the club.
DeVone Claybrooks retired during the off-season, but he won’t be very far away. Claybrooks will start the new season as Calgary’s defensive line coach.
Calgary will also be without Brandon Isaac, who signed with the Argonauts, kicker Burke Dales who joined the Eskimos and OL Tim O’Neill who signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Question Marks and Storylines
Is Drew Tate the real deal? Can he carry a team all season long without hitting the proverbial wall?
If, for some reason, Tate fails to live up to expectations, how long will it take for fans to announce their discontent in favour of the departed Burris?