CALGARY - Mind-numbing noise blaring from the massive speaker suspended above McMahon Stadium means the Calgary Stampeders are about to play in Regina.
Simulating the din they expect when they face the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium is a common practice for Calgary, but not one the players particularly enjoy.
A conversation in mid-field, anywhere between the 40-yard lines, was nearly impossible during Wednesday's practice.
But the cacophony at McMahon was actually louder than anything Roughrider Nation will throw at them Friday, says Stampeder Nik Lewis.
"It's the difference between someone standing on the sidelines and screaming at you and someone screaming in your ear," Lewis said.
The volume is turned up at practice so the actual game noise will feel quieter by comparison.
"When we go to the game and it's not that loud, it's like second nature," receiver Ken-Yon Rambo explained.
"We hate that loud stuff, going through it because we have to stick our head in there and really listen to Hank and Drew, what they're calling, but it helps out in the game because it's not that loud in the game."
Calgary will have the veteran Rambo back in the lineup Friday. He sat out last Saturday's 32-20 win over Hamilton with a sore Achilles' tendon.
Although he expects he'll have to manage the condition the rest of the season, Rambo says he didn't feel any extra pain Wednesday after testing his heel in practice the previous day. He chased down and caught a long pass from Burris just short of the end zone.
"Today feels better than yesterday," Rambo said. "I was running pretty good yesterday and I'm running better today so I'm ready to go this week.
"This is a big game. They're in our division. We'd like to go into our bye weeks with wins. This is a real big game and I want to play."
The Stampeders (4-2) are looking for their third win in a row before they break for their bye week. After Friday's game, Calgary doesn't play again until Aug. 27 when they host Montreal.
Calgary is two points back of first-place Edmonton in the West Division and has a six-point cushion on the struggling Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions (both 1-5). The Stampeders, who won 22-18 in Regina on July 30, don't want to let the Roughriders up off the mat.
"When you have a team on their heels you have to do what you can to put them away," Calgary quarterback Henry Burris said. "It's an opportunity for us to win two games in a row on the road against a team we're going to be playing four times, and give us the upper hand as far as taking the season series."
The bye week can't come too soon for Calgary as a few players need time to recover from injuries. Receivers Landan Talley (dislocated shoulder) and Arjei Franklin (cracked ribs) were standing around practice Wednesday and won't play in Regina. Fullback Rob Cote (knee) has sat out three straight games and head coach John Hufnagel said he'll probably be a scratch Friday.
All-star middle linebacker Juwan Simpson (knee) will miss his third straight game and said he isn't travelling with the team to Regina. While his teammates have booked their travel for the bye week, Simpson will spend it in Calgary with director of medical services Pat Clayton working on his knee.
"I really don't like Pat Clayton that much and we're being forced to spend a lot of time together," Simpson joked before adding: "I think by the middle of next week I'll be back to where I want to be."
Return specialist Larry Taylor, who scored his first touchdown as a Stampeder on Saturday as a receiver, continued to get reps at that position Wednesday.
If Calgary can leave Regina with a win and no further injuries, they'll enjoy their week off a lot more.