Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stampeders dealing with pivot problem

Hufnagel to name his starting QB today

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CALGARY -- Better to end speculation than keep the Saskatchewan Roughriders guessing for a few more days, says Calgary Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel.

Hufnagel intends to name his starting quarterback today to minimize distraction for the Stampeders ahead of Sunday's CFL West semifinal at McMahon Stadium.

"I think it's better we address it and make people aware, make everybody aware, so there's not this constant talk about it and we can concentrate on the important things," Hufnagel said Monday.

The semifinal winner moves onto the West final Nov. 18 in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions.

So will it be Drew Tate for the Stampeders against Saskatchewan? The 28-year-old from Baytown, Texas, started the season as Calgary's undisputed No. 1.

A shoulder dislocation of his non-throwing arm in his second regular-season game, and subsequent surgery, sidelined Tate for 14 games.

Or will it be the 33-year-old workhorse Kevin Glenn, who was acquired in the off-season as insurance behind Tate? Glenn threw for 4,220 yards and 25 touchdowns as Calgary posted a 9-5 record in Tate's absence.

"I don't understand why there's so much hype," Hufnagel mused to reporters. "I have two quarterbacks on my football team that can win football games in the Canadian Football League. I'm confident either one can get the job done.

"It's a position of strength on our football team. If you're asking me whether I'm looking at a two-quarterback scenario, no. Whoever is the starter will have the opportunity to play that whole game and finish it. I will make a change as I've always had if I thought a change was needed."

That Hufnagel has a choice between Tate and Glenn is surprising. When Tate opted for surgery in July, he wasn't expected to return before the post-season. But he recovered quicker than planned and played portions of the final two games of the regular season, showing no indication he'd returned to action prematurely.

Before Glenn went in for the second half, Tate completed 11 of 15 passes for 139 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the regular-season finale Friday versus Edmonton. Tate scrambled away from trouble more than once and left the game with the Stampeders up 20-17 at halftime.

Tate still feels somewhat of an unknown quantity. Because of his injury, he's started seven games since Hufnagel handed him the ball with three games remaining in the 2011 season.

The six-foot, 192-pound pivot struggled in his first playoff start, a 33-19 loss to Edmonton in last year's West semifinal. Tate completed five of 10 passes for 99 yards with an interception before he was replaced by Henry Burris in the second half.

Hufnagel hitched his wagon to Tate nonetheless, signing him to a three-year contract extension in December. He shipped Burris to Hamilton the following month in a deal that brought Glenn to Calgary.

Glenn has a 3-2 record in CFL playoff games.

His most recent playoff appearances, as a Tiger-Cat, are a study in contrasts. Glenn went 13-for-18 for 113 yards and zero touchdowns in last season's 19-3 loss to Winnipeg in the East final. A week earlier, Glenn led to Ticats to a 52-44 victory over Montreal.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 6, 2012 D2

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