Patience paying off for McCarty

Calvin McCarty wants the football in his hands. Always has, always will.

Edmonton Eskimo Calvin McCarty was named top Canadian player for the month of July.

EDMONTON — Calvin McCarty wants the football in his hands. Always has, always will.

That’s not surprising considering McCarty, a third-year running back with the Edmonton Eskimos, is just six years removed from a season in which he rushed for 2,400 yards and 33 touchdowns during a nine-game season with the St. Thomas More Knights in Burnaby, B.C.

But while McCarty still has the mentality of the game-breaker and play-maker that saw him establish several British Columbia high school records in 2003, versatility and patience is his game plan for now.

He’s a go-to guy who is biding his time.

“I’m still a running back,” said McCarty. “I just want to have an effect on the game.

“Back in high school, it was hand the ball off, hand the ball off, hand the ball off. It’s evolved, but still, when you get the hand-off, you still get that high-school excitement. Any play can be a big play. I definitely still carry that mentality.”

McCarty, 24, began this season behind Jesse Lumsden on the depth chart at running back. Since Lumsden went down with a shoulder injury 14 minutes into Edmonton’s first game, McCarty has been splitting time in the backfield with rookie import Arkee Whitlock.

With 34 carries for 167 yards and 13 catches for 95 yards through five games going into Hamilton on Saturday, the five-foot-10, 215-pound non-import has decent numbers.

Mind you, McCarty, named CFL Canadian player of the month for July, regularly put up those kinds of numbers in one game with St. Thomas More.

“He’s been very solid since day one,” said head coach Richie Hall. “Jesse went down early and he came in and gave us a boost. For him to do what he’s accomplished in a short amount of time, it shows a lot about his play.”

While CFL rosters are laden with players who commanded the spotlight in high school or college, McCarty’s numbers as a four-year varsity starter with St. Thomas More stand out.

His 2,400 yards for the 7-2 Knights in 2003 translated to an average of 266.7 yards per game. McCarty’s 33 touchdowns gave him 84 for his career, another record, before he moved on to Boise State, Reedly College in California and Western Washington.

“Consistency over time is the key,” offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman said of McCarty’s transition to the pro ranks. “As he becomes a veteran now in this third year, that’s important.

“It’s also important to be flexible. Sometimes, you are going to be the key component in an offensive game plan. Other times, you’re not going to be because teams are keying on you. You have to remain focused and patient during the course of a game.”

Selected 27th overall by the Eskimos in the 2007 CFL Canadian Draft, McCarty played 18 games in 2007, getting just six carries for 13 yards and seven catches for 99 yards. He played 18 games again in 2008, rushing 88 times for 490 yards and adding 70 catches for 583 yards.

In both seasons, McCarty bolstered his resume by playing special teams, just as he’s doing again this year.

“The reality is that no matter what level you’ve been successful at, you might have been the star in high school, when you go to university, you’re a freshman. There’s a pecking order,” Hall said.

“We’re all rookies once. We’re all freshmen once. It’s just the pecking order and the reality of sports you go through.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

Pine Lake shooter loses conviction appeal

Cory Lavallee sentenced in 2016 to nine years in prison for attempted murder

Police say a woman in the Red Deer area may be in danger

Public’s assistance is urgently requested

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot clinic

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

B.C. man accused of swimming naked in Toronto shark tank arrested in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Police have arrested a B.C. man who is… Continue reading

Most Read