Beleaguered Stamps offensive line suffers another blow

Training camp hasn’t even opened yet and it seems the same old storyline will prevail with the Calgary Stampeders again this season.

For the past two years, the depth on the offensive line had taken hit after hit, and that continued with news breaking on Thursday morning.

Karl Lavoie, the Stampeders first-round pick in 2015, has decided to retire after two injury-plagued seasons with the team where he hardly had the chance to realize his potential.

“We were all a little surprised,” head coach Dave Dickenson said. “We feel like he could have been a long-time CFL guy. I feel bad it came to this.”

The Laval product told the Stamps of his decision two days before the draft but they couldn’t alter their strategy because of other needs they had, particularly at defensive tackle. Both Junior Turner and Quinn Smith will be out till around Labour Day recovering from injuries, so that’s why they traded up to get Randy Colling with the sixth-overall pick. The Stamps hope a combination of Colling and free-agent signing Bryan Hall can offset the loss of Turner and Smith to start the year.

Lavoie’s retirement does throw a bit of a monkey wrench into a position that has impacted both sides of the line.

When injuries hit hard to the offensive line in 2015, it was Smith who went across to help out, even finishing out the campaign as the sixth man, forgoing a chance at playing time on defence. Turner ended up playing some offence as well.

Those two players won’t be ready in an emergency situation, but the Stamps are hoping the bad luck changes at that position, although it appears to be a never-ending story.

Projected starting left guard Shane Bergman injured his knee training at home in Ontario and will be slowly worked into training camp. At least the news from Thursday is that right tackle Dan Federkeil should be ready to start camp on May 28, but even he will be eased into action after undergoing shoulder surgery during the off-season.

This is a familiar story for the Stampeders offence though, and it really hasn’t slowed them down much. Even with all the problems, they led the league in points scored and sacks allowed, although when you are protecting the league’s reigning most outstanding player in Bo Levi Mitchell, things can get a little easier.

“If you can keep the same five, you have the best chance,” Dickenson joked about his offensive line. “We’ve been working on keeping the same 10.”

If there is one saving grace it’s that the Stamps have the chance to employ an extra international on the offensive line if needed. Dickenson hopes some of the ratio flexibility they had last year can help when setting the roster early in the season until the likes of Turner and Smith can return.

There are couple of positive signs on defence though. Middle linebacker Deron Mayo is progressing from his knee injury and will be eased into training camp and has a chance of starting the regular season.

Cornerback Tommie Campbell, who was cleared of drug charges, still has to finalize some paperwork in order to get back into Canada but is expected back in Calgary around June 3. At one point, it looked like he might never return to the team, so showing up one week late to camp is at least positive news.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

25 Comments on Beleaguered Stamps offensive line suffers another blow

  1. mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm //

    I knew about Jr Turner but didn’t know Quinn Smith was also out. No wonder Calgary wanted Colling so bad. Lavoie was never healthy anyways so I don’t see how’s he’s a big loss. The injury to Bergman is really unsettling and is a bad omen for the upcoming season. Imagine how much better this team could be with consistency on that line. If I was to have 1 criticism of Huff its his loyalty to guys with chronic injuries on the oline, Federkil, Lavoie, Lavertu, Edwin Harrison .

    • Riders13 // May 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm //

      The same could be said about every team. Bo Levi is gonna be spending a lot of time on his back this year.

      • George Porge // May 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm //

        Just like last year.. and the year before that.. and the year before that..

        …oh.. wait…

  2. Ladd Law // May 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm //

    It appears as if the mighty Stumps are wee bit wobbly. Glad to see their bone breaking O-line is shaping up. Too bad it’s BLM’s bones that will be breaking.

    • Uncle Nik // May 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm //

      ha ha love the BLM comment. I bet he has sleepless nights lately worrying about getting his clock cleaned. Good to see the oLine in trouble, no Oline, that means Bo will be flat on his keister more than standing upright. too funny so lets see how Stampland Larry deals with this one.

    • Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:25 am //

      and if Brett Jones ever came back to the CFL he would sign with the Riders, not the stamps. You heard it here and that is straight from Weyburn, his home town crowd and family

  3. Crinks in the armour of the Stamps ???

  4. mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm //

    Except last year Calgary had a make shift o-line as it was and what were they again?? oh yeah! a near record 15-2-1. If Calgary only deals with half the issue in the line they did last they will still be the best unit in the league.

    • Riders13 // May 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm //

      Who cares what their record was? They choked hard when it came to winning the championship…as usual.

      • mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm //

        really not the point rider13. They had a make shift oline, had to play defensive players on online several times. and were 15-2-1 that fact they lost the grey cup is irrelevant to that. Compare that to the riders 2013-2015
        Whether it was Darian Durant, Cory sheets, Branden Labatte. A single injury threw them into disarray.

        • Losing the Grey Cup is irrelevant? Sure.

        • Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:21 am //

          the difference is the riders won the 2013 GC while the stamps and their finger pointing QB got their heinies kicked in their GC attempt. teeee heeee.

        • Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:23 am //

          Larry, the GC is all that matters!!! Ask any player in the league, even anyone on your stumps team.

      • Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:22 am //

        plus in that GC – BLM went down as the biggest whiner in GC history with all his finger pointing at his team mates. Goof!!!

  5. mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm //

    BTW rider fans. Wishing a player gets his bones broken reflects your class. Just pointing it out 🙂

    • Ladd Law // May 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm //

      No one wishing for anything other than perhaps one less Stump fan posting on each and every story. It’s my opinion that BLM will find it rough going this year and sooner or later, he will get popped. Not a matter of if, just when. Of course it’s just my opinion.

      • mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm //

        He has been popped! And he gets up at plays
        Sorry Ladd Law you can’t back track. You sound like Flames fans right now. Saying the Oiler’s playoff run this year was a fluke. It’s all denial. Denial because you know BLM is the best in the game and will be for a long time.

        • Ladd Law // May 11, 2017 at 8:46 pm //

          Seriously mrinconsequential, what the f are you going on about? Stumps and losing is the point of this article. BLM will be pasted good this year and ride the pine to a nice losing record. Don’t deny you feel the same way too.

          • mrnehnehincognito // May 11, 2017 at 10:38 pm //

            right Ladd Law..what make you think this?? What specifics make you conclude this?

  6. No lack of good Oline guys looking for jobs south of the border. Stamps just gotta tweet the ration in other areas to make it work.

  7. You have to have a lot of things go right to go through a season losing only 2 games so it’s unrealistic to expect the same this year. But the Stamps still look like the team to beat in the West. The defence is pretty much intact. The West will be close. The key, as always, is Nationals & QB. BC, Calgary & the Esks all have elite QB’s & good National talent. I’d be surprised if Stamps don’t challenge for top spot.

    • Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:18 am //

      one thing the stamps will have it looks like is the drug dealer Tommie Campbell on their roster. It seems he did some slipping and sliding and his lawyer found a loop hole in the charge and he got off. No doubt in my mind he did it but he got off. I guess the CFL doesn’t rate drug dealing as high as assault hey Larry. Wonder if he will be bringing his dealers license to Canada and sell his goods here??

  8. Uncle Nik // May 12, 2017 at 11:14 am //

    Talk about a shot in the dark with Dickenson from the stamps. I read an article on where he says he is “hoping” for a healthy OLine in 2017. HOPING?? Hoping is his game plan???? Lets see how that goes hey Craig. Hoping is a real nice coaching tactic, did he learn that from Huff?? Looks like BLM will be spending lots of time flat on his back and like usual blaming his OLine and recievers like he did in the Grey Cup last fall. BLM is the worst team mate in the league, he is happy when things are going good but points his finger at his team mates when going sour. I see lots of sour in 2017 for the Stumps and Stampland Larry will be stuttering and stammering his way out of this one somehow. ha ha that is soooooo funny.

  9. Scottsask // May 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm //

    Until a slide actually happens, I will not rule out the Stamps as the team to beat in the West. We couldn’t win with players playing an at the very least the right side of the ball. That being said, I have full confidence the Green and White will be vastly improved this year, and most of that is tied to the play of the O line. There is no doubt that the defence will be greatly upgraded as well.

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