Camp preview: Stamps dealing with depth issues along offensive line

Ever the optimist, Quinn Smith is excited about the challenge he’s about to take.

The toughest part is the Calgary Stampeders lineman has to watch and learn instead of getting thrown into the fire during training camp.

With a surprise retirement from Karl Lavoie and a Canadian draft that didn’t net the Stamps a top-flight lineman this spring, the team has made a move with Smith, who has spent the majority of his first three seasons on defence. He’s now permanently switching from No. 90 to 69, signifying his move over to guard.

As typical with the Stampeders offensive line, Smith has to work through an injury before he gets into action, which means he will be going through meetings and practices while trying to pick up Dave Dickenson’s extensive playbook without the benefit of live reps.

The good news is Smith’s knee is responding well to rehab after he needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus. If all goes as planned, he should be back running in early July and will try to work into the lineup after that.

The offensive line is beat up already and training camp doesn’t officially open until this Sunday. Left guard Shane Bergman is nursing a knee injury of his own, while right tackle Dan Federkeil is still working back from his shoulder issue. Right now, Brad Erdos is listed as the starter at right guard, while Spencer Wilson slots in at right tackle.

If Bergman can’t start the season, the likes of Roman Grozman or Cam Thorn would be pressed into action. With Derek Dennis off to the Roughriders through free agency, former Rider Randy Richards is listed as the starter at left tackle. When healthy, the Stamps offensive line won’t look much different from last year when they had the league’s leading rusher and allowed the fewest number of sacks.

Playing offence is nothing new to Smith, who played both sides of the ball in college and then was the emergency replacement several times, mostly in the 2015 season when injuries piled up among the offensive linemen.

By playoff time, Smith was the sixth man on the offensive line, a position he embraced despite the fact it took him away from being in a regular defensive line rotation.

Smith is looking on the bright side of the situation.

“Hopefully this extends my career and makes me a whole lot more money,” Smith said with a laugh.

In his draft year, Smith garnered plenty of interest from teams looking to convert him into an offensive lineman. The Stamps were more interested in giving him a shot on defence, so he’s happy he had the time on that side of the ball, which included getting a Grey Cup ring during his rookie campaign.

During this year’s draft, the Stamps managed to grab defensive tackle Randy Colling, which gives them a bit of flexibility to make this move. It would also help of Junior Turner returns quickly from his injury to help with the depth on that side of the ball.

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
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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.

39 Comments on Camp preview: Stamps dealing with depth issues along offensive line

  1. mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 6:25 pm //

    Yep injuries have been an issue. I don’t think the loss of Lavoie will have much of an impact. He really hasn’t been available very often anyways. Bergman is a concern as is Lavertu who is rarely healthy for long. Federkeil really needs to stay healthy too. This is an area of concern but with a little luck in the health department this could once again be the best unit in CFL
    The good news is is team does have the option to play an extra import if absolutely necessary. They also have a RB that can help in blocking schemes

    • Wow you better take off your rose colored glasses. There is concern about your Oline in training camp, well good thing you have depth at other positions and you better hope that Bo can take a hit. I think losing the Grey Cup will be the last thing on his mind as he picks himself out of the turf.

  2. The start will be important for the Stamps. I still like the Stamps for 1st place but it’s unreasonable to expect another 15 win season (though that area code seems to be normal under Mitchell). Last year they were a bit lucky winning 1 game vs BC & another vs Winnipeg which had more to do with those teams self-imploding but, nonetheless, don’t critique wins. The OL will be worth watching though. The 1 guy they can ill afford to lose is Mitchell – he’s the straw that stirs the drink.

    • Ladd Law // May 27, 2017 at 10:36 am //

      Of course you do, easy choice. The Stamps fall on their face this year and miss the playoffs. That seems just as likely at this time and anything else. Let’s play some games first before we start handing out hardware.

  3. mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm //

    With a decent o-line and the defence/special teams they have I bet Gale or Buckley could take this team to 11-7

  4. With a little luck in the injury department?? You have to be kidding. Training camp hasn’t even begun and you don’t have a healthy line! I think the luck is lacking at the moment and without a healthy line, Mitchell could be under siege and not able to produce 2016-like numbers. You know the expression – the game is won in the trenches – but it sounds like the Stamps trenches are a bit thin at the moment.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm //

      Yeah fair point but Bergman should be ago as should Federkeil. I think the worries lie with any injuries after that . Quinn smith is a 6th lineman anyways but his depth will help once he’s back

  5. Ladd Law // May 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm //

    Well look here a Stamps story and both their fans have already started the excuse parade. The red machine crumbled in the GC and the trend will continue in 2017.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 8:24 pm //

      The only people making excuses are riderfans about their deplorable GM. Without a doubt IF injuries become an issue the could be problems for this team I’ve said taht all along. It’s no secret

    • Unfortunately for you Ladd law the only thing crumbling is the riders franchise !!

  6. Every team has depth issues somewhere, it just so happens Calgary’s is on the offensive line. That said, they’ll be fine. Calgary always seems to find the right guy for the right spot, and Hufnagel will beat the bushes and find an appropriate stopgap should a lineman get dinged.

    There’s no story here. Just an effort to make the Stampeders look human.

  7. The Stamps won 15 games last year with a beat up offensive line and 14 in 2015. They will manage as they always have. I suspect they start two imports on the offensive line for most of the year.

  8. Riders13 // May 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm //

    Isn’t this the same Quinn Smith who was suspended last year for 3 games for testing positive for PEDs? After a positive test in Usports in 2014? Isn’t that what you’d call a trend Stumpy? Not exactly a role model.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm //

      LOLOLOLOL
      Oh Rider13 you guys are entertaining. The parallels you try to draw between Stamps and Riders is pathetic sometimes. Yes that is true of Quinn Smith and he’s been put on notice that another incident will be his last with the stamps.
      Question do you think a person choosing to abuse their own body with PEDS is the same as having a history of beating women? Or driving erratically with drunk endangering the public???

      • Riders13 // May 24, 2017 at 9:29 pm //

        How can you not be outraged that Quinn is a member of your beloved team considering your lofty moral standards that you’d like other teams to be held to?? You are the world’s biggest hypocrite.

        • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 9:57 pm //

          I don’t think the stamps are morally superior to any team. The problem is the Riders are far under the standard of anyone else..That is hard for you to argue

        • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm //

          See rider13…..its only your team that I criticize because your team deserves it

        • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm //

          are you suggesting Calgary’s success is solely because of Quinn Smith taking PEDS?

          • Riders13 // May 24, 2017 at 11:57 pm //

            Man, you’re warped. I didn’t suggest anything of the kind. I asked if you were ok that there are cheaters on you’re team and you evaded the question. You need help.

          • You are the same person as Donald Trump. You got beat up alot as a kid didn’t you? Or did everyone leave you alone because of pity.

        • mrnehnehincognito // May 25, 2017 at 12:22 am //

          I’m as ok with it as you are with a cheating GM and coach

      • No parallels just throwing the same stupid shit you litter Rider stories with. I plan only viewing Stamp stories from here on to do just that.

  9. Wow a Stamps article.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm //

      yeah 2 in the last few days. Its hard to find good stories on stamps things are so normal and smooth over at historic McMahon

      • I have to say McMahon is the least historic stadium in the CFL. Actually it and the home crowds are very forgettable.

  10. This season will be a tough test for BLM. Calgary is right in the pack with Edmonton, BC and Winnipeg.

  11. All powerful in Regina – yes, Jones is that for this year at least? Jones’ CFL power – there are about 116,000 reasons to think not. The bloom is off the rose for a lot of Rider faithful on Mr. Jones.

  12. All teams have problems trying to recruit “O” linemen, as long as the restrictive Canadian “ratio” is in place.
    There are just not enough good Canadian football players out there so teams have to stock up at the non-talent “O” line position to fill the ratio

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 25, 2017 at 9:18 am //

      That is a fair point but Canadians are essential to what this league is

  13. I enjoy these stories of guys who change positions during their pro career, sign of a good all around athlete.

  14. Why does every CFL team every year have to be faced with this foolishness! The CFL, you are either a real professional football league like the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and even the MLS, who logically allows the best available players to start and play in their professional sports leagues, or you are not! Because in order to be, the CFL must allow the best available O-Linemen and best available receivers and best available players in all other positions to attend CFL training camps, who end up starting and playing in the CFL for entire CFL game and at every position. And who make up the entire CFL roster! Which believe it or not, does not exist in the CFL, unlike every other professional sports league. The CFL has to decide whether or not they want to continue to be perceived as a minor football league who doesn’t even allow the best available players to start and play in the CFL, that has an image as an automatic Canadian passport guaranteed Canadian ratio amateur football league. Or abolish the old school guaranteed Canadian starter and huge Canadian roster ratio that obviously doesn’t work and is not selling CFL 3 down football, that’s preventing the CFL from growing as a real respected professional football league. The proof is in the pudding, just look at the numerous amount of empty seats throughout the CFL, it’s embarrassing! And look at the huge decline of season ticket sales throughout the CFL and the decline in TV ratings. They don’t lie!

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm //

      Wayne.. a few points

      I think you are an NFL supporter and even if the CFL abolished the ratio you still wouldn’t watch it

      Do you think you could tell the difference in caliber of play with an all American lineup vs one with 7 Canadians?

      Guess what we will always be a minor league compared to the NFL. Unless TSN,Rogers,CBC is willing to pay multi billions for the next TV deal and we can pay comparable salaries to the NFL this will always be the case

      The CFL is what it is. 25,000-30,000 will always be the target attendance anything above that is a bonus.

      Embrace it for what it is!! Where else could cities like Regina and Hamilton compete with cities like Toronto ,Vancouver and Montreal? We have one of the oldest sports championships in North America and probably the most storied with so many unique antidotes etc

  15. Marc Lebut // May 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm //

    Stamps always find ways to patch when they need it. I have no worries they’ll be in the race for the top spot in CFL, with other teams closer than last season.

  16. Totally wrong, I don’t even watch the NFL and either does my son and he has two Stampeder season tickets and he hates the Canadian ratio and so do the majority of sports fans in Canada that have any kind of sports brain. And that is one of the main reasons why so many sports fans in Canada only watch the NFL and not the CFL in our own country, and that’s pretty bad! You are another one of those blockers but you are the minority because you are seriously outnumbered because the majority of sports fans in Canada only want to watch the best available players start and play in any professional sports league. And that’s why the CFL is not supported nearly as much as it should be in our own country because it’s not respected or perceived as a real professional football league because the Canadian ratio prevents the CFL from recruiting the best and most talented available players to start and play in the CFL for entire game and at every position. And that’s a fact!

  17. Reply to mrne…Totally wrong, I don’t even watch the NFL and either does my son and he has two Stampeder season tickets and he hates the Canadian ratio and so do the majority of sports fans in Canada that have any kind of sports brain. And that is one of the main reasons why so many sports fans in Canada only watch the NFL and not the CFL in our own country, and that’s pretty bad! You are another one of those blockers but you are the minority because you are seriously outnumbered because the majority of sports fans in Canada only want to watch the best available players start and play in any professional sports league. And that’s why the CFL is not supported nearly as much as it should be in our own country because it’s not respected or perceived as a real professional football league because the Canadian ratio prevents the CFL from recruiting the best and most talented available players to start and play in the CFL for entire game and at every position. And that’s a fact!

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 25, 2017 at 5:44 pm //

      Well Wayne. I love the CFL and the truth is I’d watch it whether it had the ratio or not

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