CFL Pass

Stamps could go all-Canadian at defensive tackle

CALGARY — It’s a rare sight in the Canadian Football League, but the Calgary Stampeders could go all-national in the middle of their defensive line this season.

Traditionally CFL teams roll with one Canadian and one American on the interior, but Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson believes the Stamps’ depth of Canadian defensive linemen could allow them to go off script.

The departure of star tackle Micah Johnson created a giant hole in the middle of the Stamps’ defensive line, opening up one of several position battles this year in training camp.

Junior Turner, Derek Wiggan and Ese Mrabure appear to be in the mix for starting jobs.

“Those three guys that are vets push each other and see where it goes, and we drafted Vincent (Desjardins),” Dickenson told “We think we’ve got good depth there. What we’re basically trying to say is ‘go win the job’, and that’s multiple spots.

“Instead of looking at it as ‘this is going to be Canadian, that’s going to be American’, just go win the job, and if you do you’re going to be playing.”

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Nearly two-thirds of the Stamps’ starting defence has changed since winning the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw last November, as free agency has wreaked havoc on the defending champs.

But General Manager John Hufnagel has been here before, and with reigning Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell back in the mix, there’s no reason the Stamps can’t recover.

Dickenson says as many as four Canadians could start on the defensive side of the ball, setting up what could be a competitive camp at McMahon Stadium.

After a short rookie camp, the Stamps opened training camp on Sunday and will prepare for their pre-season opener on May 31 against Saskatchewan.