February 14, 2013

Coach Huff discusses off-season to date

Stamps head coach and general manager John Hufnagel met with the media on Thursday to talk about the team’s off-season work to date and the Friday 10 a.m. MST start of CFL free agency. Here are excerpts of the conversation.

Q: Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished in the off-season?

A: To this point. You’re always guarded with how you feel about things but we’ve got most of our free agents signed and we’re working on a couple of more and I’m very optimistic that I’ll get one of those two done before tomorrow

Q: What about Brian Bulcke?

A: Brian’s going to enter free agency and see what’s out there for him and then compare that to what we have offered.

Q: What about Mark Dewit?

A: He’s going to be pursuing free agency and we’ll see how that plays out.

Q: What about Stanley Bryant?

A: Like I said, I’m very close with one of our remaining free agents. You can do the math from there.

Q: What are you plans for the start of CFL free agency on Friday?

A: We’re looking. Probably more window shopping than anything else. You know my philosophy about free agency. I don’t see any glaring holes in our roster. We always want to get the best competition for training camp but I’m not so sure free agency is the path to do that.

Q: Considering what you’ve done in the off-season, are you confident going into the 2013 season?

A: It’s still a young off-season. We need to make sure we do a good job with the CFL draft — evaluate those players and make good selections. And also with our free-agent camps in the States, to augment our roster and get as much competition in training camp as possible. I was pleased I was able to sign the majority of our free agents.

Q: With all of the early signings and player movement, has some of the drama been taken out of free agency?

A: Not for me. Maybe for (the media). I never lost any sleep the night before free agency and I don’t plan on doing it in the future either.

Q: Why are so many players signing with their teams before free agency begins?

A: I think most CFL clubs are very prudent with the money just because of the salary cap and the implications on the salary cap when you go out (in free agency) and possibly overpay a player. And I’m not saying that all players signed in free agency are overpaid, but that can happen, especially when there’s more than one team trying to acquire that player. I think the philosophy on free agency over the last few years has slowly changed to be what it is today.

Q: What about the quarterbacks — do you expect both Drew Tate and Kevin Glenn to be in training camp?

A: I expect that.

Q: That means one of those quarterbacks will be unhappy then.

A: I don’t believe so. I don’t think any of the three quarterbacks who were on the roster last year was unhappy. I believe there will be great competition by all three players. They understand our philosophy here — who plays is decided on the football field. So they’re preparing very hard to come in and have a great competitive battle. They’re all friends and they get along very well. I don’t expect any problems.

Q: Does Drew Tate go into camp as the No. 1?

A: I think that with what transpired last year, I think it would only be fair to say it will be an open competition with Drew Tate being the No. 1 quarterback going into training camp. I think everybody understands how I feel about Drew and the things that he can bring to an offence, so that makes him the No. 1 going into training camp.

Q: How is his recovery going?

A: Very well. He’s been in the weight room and he’s being doing a little work with Dave Dickenson’s quarterback school and throwing the football around a little bit, so he’s doing well.

Q: What did you think of Romby Bryant signing in Toronto?

A: I’m very pleased that he found a home. I know the people there a very familiar with Romby, so they know what they’ve acquired and obviously they’re very pleased having him on the football team.