Unfamiliar names throughout Stampeders first pre-season lineup

Any fan who attends a CFL preseason game can be forgiven if they look down at a lineup card after a play and ask “Who was that?”

For fans of the Calgary Stampeders defence, that may happen more often than not this Friday against the B.C. Lions in their preseason lid-lifter.

Of the 12 starting positions on the field, only two will be manned by players that finished the 2017 season as starters. Jameer Thurman and Derek Wiggan will be manning the WLB and DT spots respectively while surrounded by 10 other players who will be looking to make an impression on head coach Dave Dickenson.

The battle will continue in the secondary as Brandon Smith, Ciante Evans, and Jamar Wall will all watch from the sidelines. Emanuel Davis, Adam Berger, and Troy Stoudermire all bring veteran presence to the field but none were with Calgary last season. Stoudermire didn’t play last year at all, Berger had left Calgary for Ottawa and Davis was with Hamilton.

A few fresh faces will be getting the start as rookies Tre Roberson and Devin Butler have earned the coaches trust enough to warrant a better look. Butler will be at the SAM position while Roberson will handle the boundary corner spot.

Battling next to fourth-year man Derek Wiggan will be eight-year veteran Junior Turner. Sitting out this week are projected starters Micah Johnson, Codarro Law, and Ja’Gared Davis which ought to have Jonathon Jennings and the rest of the B.C. QB corps breathing a sigh of relief as those three players have proven incredibly adept at getting to the quarterback.

Riley Jones, a second-year player from the University of British Columbia, will start at middle linebacker getting some valuable reps as the backup to the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Alex Singleton. Due to Singleton’s National pedigree, Davis is an essential piece to the ratio picture in Calgary.

Offensively, the Stamps are going with a veteran-laden lineup to start as both William Langlais at FB and Terry Williams at RB will be looking to grab hold of jobs left open by the retirement of Rob Cote, and the departure of Jerome Messam to Saskatchewan this past offseason. Williams looked very impressive in this past weekend’s Red and White game albeit with limited touches.

Both Dave Dickenson and John Hufnagel have been talking about RB Don Jackson as someone they were very high on coming in off the neg list after trying to entice him to Canada the last few seasons as well. Currently #2 on the RB depth chart, Jackson could see a lot of the pigskin.

Ricky Stanzi will get the first look at QB but newcomer Larry Brihm Jr. has already moved into the third-string role for this game supplanting both Nick Arbuckle and Tyler Rogers. Brihm made some tough throws into tight spaces last weekend and it will be interesting to see who makes the most of their opportunities this weekend as the spot that belonged to Andrew Buckley last year is certainly open.

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