October 31, 2012

Stephen: Tough decision looms for Hufnagel


Heading into their regular season finale in Edmonton on Friday night, the Calgary Stampeders know where they’ll be the following week.

Regardless of the result at Commonwealth Stadium, the Stamps will be the host team in the Western Semi-Final on Nov.11.

While it seems like the Stamps have it all figured out, there’s still a matter of who will be under centre when they face off against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at McMahon Stadium.

The Stampeders will start Drew Tate at quarterback for the first half, while Kevin Glenn will take over the in the second.  

And, if possible, they will give third string quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell some work.
After all is said and done, the Calgary coaching staff will sit down and distill all the results, with the intention of naming a starting QB for the playoffs. If you’re one who is low on patience, then you’re in luck. General Manager and Head Coach John Hufnagel said he will make the announcement regarding Calgary’s main man under centre on Tuesday morning.

There are plenty of factors for Hufnagel to consider as he makes his choice.
The Stamps have played most of this season under Glenn.  It is no stretch to suggest the Stamps wouldn’t be in the position they are without the steady hand of the 33-year-old.  He has thrown touchdown passes in 11-straight games while winning 10 of his 15 starts.

On the other hand Tate had a very strong start to the season. During the first five quarters of the year, he was fulfilling the big expectations the Stampeders had for him when he took over as starter. Plus, he was the number one quarterback coming out of camp.  

Should he be replaced because of injury?

For Hufnagel, there are the practical matters of advancing in the playoffs. The Stamps are hoping to follow up their strong regular season with an even stronger post-season. Undoubtedly, the lights will be on late at McMahon Stadium as Hufnagel and company make their choice.

While the quarterback picture sorts itself out, the Stampeders will head north without one of their feature performers.  Slotback Nik Lewis is expected to stay in Calgary as he recuperates from various ailments.  

The team is also expecting a couple of other players to return to the roster.  Returner Larry Taylor, who was enjoying a banner season until a September knee injury, is expected to join the roster.  The team is also anticipating the return of team rookie-of-the-year nominee Chris Randle at linebacker.

The game may have no bearing in the standings for the Stampeders but they want to continue their hot play as they enter the playoffs.  

The team has won four of their last five as they prepare for post-season. They also could have a huge say in the Edmotnon Eskimos’ fortunes.  By the time both teams take the field on Friday, the Eskimos should know what is at stake for them to qualify for the playoffs.  

The Stampeders have already had a big say in Edmonton’s season, having defeated them three times.

So the regular season wraps up with a little quarterback controversy and a potential playoff spot hanging in the balance, Friday night in Edmonton.