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July 12, 2018

REDBLACKS hope to establish run game early vs. Stamps

Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca

OTTAWA — Head into Week 5, the Ottawa REDBLACKS are focused during the week at practice but that doesn’t mean they’re not having a little bit of fun while they’re at it.

“When you play against each other each and every day you start to understand each other’s defence and offence,” said Trevor Harris on the game preview call with members of the media on Tuesday.

“It makes for great battles in practice. We always have competitions at the end of practice that end in pushups. Who wins popsicles and what not. It’s always heightened emotion and we have a lot of fun with it.”

And who has won more popsicles in those battles? “Come on man,” Harris chuckled. “Offence.”

The REDBLACKS will need that offence to continue to be a threat this Thursday when they play host to the Calgary Stampeders – the same Stampeders team that beat them 24-14 just two weeks ago.

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William Powell will likely be looked upon to carry the load, just as he has in the first three games of the REDBLACKS’ young season. The 30-year-old running back leads the league in rushing yards (355) with an average of 118.3 yards per game. He is on pace for 2,130 yards this season, the fourth highest pace in CFL history.

“I think it’s very important to get the run game going. It opens up the pass game so that’s big for us,” said Powell, who joined Harris and two Stampeders, Bo Levi Mitchell and DaVaris Daniels, on the call.

“We just want to be a well balanced run attack just like we want to be a well balanced passing attack,” he continued. “We’re going to try to do everything we do any other week. Just have to get it going early.”

Ottawa will go head-to-head with a well-rested, undefeated Calgary team and coming off the bye, the Stampeders are 16-0 since 2005.

“We just don’t change our approach to any game no matter what the week or what the situation,” said Mitchell, explaining their success coming off a week of rest. “We stick to our schedule, we stick to what we do. I think we’re very good at what we do. It’s something that the guys can trust in. They know exactly how the week is going to work out every single week.”

Mitchell and his team aren’t going to walk into TD Place expecting to beat the REDBLACKS, however, especially since Calgary is 1-1-2 in the nation’s capital.

“This week is a little bit different for us because you got a team that you just played and it’s always very, very hard to beat a team twice in a row,” admitted the Stampeders pivot. “We know it’s going to be a battle and we know it’s going to be a chess game a little bit.”

“Luckily for us, this week, we’re playing the same team that we played just before the bye week,” said Daniels. “I think that gives us a little advantage. We’ve already game planned for them once now we can just keep reiterating and adding some new things.”