Fearful that the Montreal Alouettes’ slump could end at any time, John Hufnagel is urging his Calgary Stampeders offence to be better in their rematch this week.
“We need to score more points because Montreal will score more than they did last week,” the Stampeders head coach said Friday.
The Stampeders and Alouettes complete their home-and-home Canadian Football League series Saturday at McMahon Stadium.
The Stampeders (2-1) shut down the struggling Alouettes 22-14 on July 12, sending Montreal to back-to-back losses at home for the first time since 2006. A loss this week would leave the Alouettes a woeful 1-3 under new head coach Dan Hawkins. They have started that badly only once since 1997, in the 2007 season.
Hufnagel spoke cautiously about the Alouettes’ troubles continuing.
“I’ve been associated with teams that have been in slumps and (the Alouettes) will explode one day. I just hope it’s not (Saturday) at five o’clock,” he said, drawing snickers from the gathered media.
Kevin Glenn will start again at quarterback for Calgary. The 34-year-old stepped in to start last week after Drew Tate suffered a strained forearm muscle in a loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders July 5. Glenn was 22-of-28 passing for 268 yards and a touchdown pass against the Alouettes with six of his 10 completions in the second half turning second down into first downs.
Glenn went on record this week as saying he doesn’t like back-to-back games because of the boredom factor brought on by seeing the same opposition faces for two straight weeks. He softened that statement Friday by admitting it helps make preparation easier.
“But it’s the adjustments that happen during the game that’s going to decide the game,” he said.
“They’re going to come in with some wrinkles that we probably haven’t seen and we’re going to have to adjust to them.”
The Stampeders held Calvillo to 205 passing yards with one TD pass and an interception and sacked the 40-year-old six times last week. Calgary’s defence held Montreal to 53 rushing yards.
“It always starts with (Calgary’s) defensive line,” said Calvillo, who will start despite suffering an thumb injury on his throwing hand in practice Wednesday.
“(The Stampeders) are very creative with their fronts and they play multiple coverages in their backfield. That makes it challenging. As a quarterback, you just have to go with your reads and get the ball to the right guy.”
Stampeders linebacker Juwan Simpson said one of the keys to another week of success is not to be complacent given that the Alouettes are struggling.
“We understand we didn’t get their best offensive outing last week and we know we’ll get their best this week and we’re ready for it,” he said.
“At the end of the day is just ‘us’ versus ‘them’ and whoever is better tomorrow is going to get the victory.”
Notes: Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes was 5-for-5 in field goal attempts last week and enters today five behind B.C. Lions’ Paul McCallum’s CFL regular-season record for consecutive field goals made of 30. Paredes has hit a record 33 in a row if you include playoffs dating back to Sept. 23, 2012 . . . Hufnagel didn’t sound optimistic Friday that wideout Maurice Price would play again this week. Price suffered a hamstring injury in practice July 9. Former QB-turned-receiver Brad Sinopoli is expected to draw in to the lineup again. Sinopoli had five catches in his first game as a receiver last week . . . All four Eastern Division teams are 1-2 to start the season, marking the first time that’s happened in either division since 2004 . . . The Stampeders, Roughriders (3-0) and Lions (1-2) are the only teams over .500.
Editor's Note: The original Canadian Press version of this story and an earlier version on globeandmail.com used an incorrect description in the headline. The headline of this online version has been corrected.