Team-by-team capsules CFL PREVIEW

June 30, 1995|By Jason LaCanfora and Ohm Youngmisuk

Northern Division


1994 record: 11-6-1

Stadium: BC Place Stadium

Capacity: 59,478

Championships: 1964, 1985, 1994

Head coach: Dave Ritchie

Top players: QB Danny McManus, RB Cory Philpot, WR Mike Trevathan, DE Glenn Scrivener, LB Henry Newby, CB Charles Gordon.

Outlook: The defending CFL champs lost nine starters from the Grey Cup squad, including CBs Barry Wilburn and James Jefferson to the Philadelphia Eagles, FB Sean Millington to the San Francisco 49ers, and LB Angelo Snipes to Birmingham. Both OT Rob Smith and CB Less Browne retired. CFL All-Star Gordon, who had eight interceptions last year, will have to fill void at corner. McManus has had an excellent training camp and will have to lead the team after QB Kent Austin was dealt to Toronto.


1994 record: 15-3

Home field: McMahon Stadium

Capacity: 37,317

Championships: 1948, 1971, 1992

Head coach: Wally Buono

Top players: QB Doug Flutie, SB Allen Pitts, DL Will Johnson, SB David Sapunjis, OL Rocco Romano.

Outlook: Flutie and Pitts will carry the Stampeders once again. Flutie, the league's MVP for four consecutive years, led the CFL last year with 5,726 yards and a CFL record 48 touchdowns with a 118.2 efficiency rating. Flutie's No. 1 option is Pitts, who had a record-breaking season with 126 receptions and 21 touchdowns for 2,036 yards. Defensively, Johnson led the CFL with 17 sacks last year and has been a Western Division All-Star for four straight years. WR Terry Vaughn and DB Al Jordan are newcomers expected to have an impact.


1994 record: 13-5

Home field: Commonwealth Stadium

Capacity: 60,081

Championships: 1954-56, 1975, 1978-82, 1987, 1993

Head coach: Ron Lancaster

Top players: QB Kerwin Bell, WR Henry "Gizmo" Williams, MLB Willie Pless.

Outlook: Edmonton was second best in the West last year, but the Eskimos lost mobile QB Damon Allen and deep threat WR Eddie Brown to Memphis. The Eskimos excel at special teams, and Williams, besides being a standout receiver, is the CFL's career leader in punt return touchdowns and yards. Pless, the CFL career leader in tackles, will have to spend more time on the field without Allen and Williams leading the offensive drives, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for defensively sound Edmonton.


1994 record: 4-14

Home field: Ivor Wynne Stadium

Capacity: 32,000

Championships: 1912 (as Alerts), 1913, 1915, 1928-29, 1932 (as Tigers), 1943 (as Flying Wildcats), 1953, 1957, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1986

Head coach: Don Sutherin

Top players: WR Earl Winfield, RB Kalin Hall, MLB Michael O'Shea.

Outlook: Things are not bright in Hamilton. Expect yet another rebuilding year. The team has yet to determine its No. 1 quarterback. Hall, a second-year man who played three games with Las Vegas last year before tearing a ligament in his knee, is expected to be a workhorse in the second half of the season -- if he has recovered from the injury. The Tiger-Cats are stingy on defense, but it will tough for Hamilton to get to the postseason.


1994 record: 4-14

Home field: Frank Clair Stadium

Capacity: 30,927

Championships: 1925-26 (as Senators), 1940, 1951, 1960, 1968-69, 1973, 1976

Head coach: Jim Gilstrap

Top players: QB Danny Barrett, WR Ray Alexander, RB Michael Richardson, DT John Kropke.

Outlook: Ottawa has posted consecutive 4-14 seasons, its defense yielded more than 30 points per game last year, its offensive line is a recognized weakness and Gilstrap is in his first year as head coach of the Rough Riders. Adam Rita, Gilstrap's predecessor, lasted only one year. Ottawa brought in 33 new players this year, but many of them have little CFL experience.


1994 record: 11-7

Home field: Taylor Field

Capacity: 27,637 (54,000 for Grey Cup)

Championships: 1966, 1989

Head coach: Ray Jauch

Top players: QB Tom Burgess, SB Ray Elgaard, WR Donald Narcisse, DE Bobby Jurasin.

Outlook: The hosts of the 1995 Grey Cup could do what BC did last year: win the championship in their own back yard. Burgess is the CFL's fourth all-time leading passer, Narcisse has caught passes in 126 consecutive games entering this season and Elgaard is a threat as a wide out, or catching passes out of the backfield. The Roughrider defense plays similar to Baltimore's attacking style, with Jurasin leading the pass rush a la Baltimore's O.J. Brigance.


1994 record: 7-11

Home field: SkyDome

Capacity: 52,595

Championships: 1914, 1921, 1933, 1937-38, 1945-47, 1950, 1952, 1991

Head coach: Mike Faragalli

Top players: QB Kent Austin, RB Mike "Pinball" Clemons, WR Paul Masotti, MLB Calvin Tiggle.

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