Argos refuse to use Boyd

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

HAMILTON -- Cory Boyd didn't want to talk about it but his body language seemed to speak volumes on his behalf.

He doesn't understand. We don't understand.

We can say something about it. He would rather not.

"Coaches' decisions," he said, barely looking up, towelling off in the dismal visitor's locker room at charming Ivor Wynne Stadium, barely making eye contact after the Argos' 28-13 Labour Day loss. "You've got to ask them. I don't know. I don't know."

We don't know why the best running back in the Canadian Football League -- one of the most complete backs the Argos have ever had -- doesn't get the ball more. He doesn't run it enough. He doesn't catch it enough. He doesn't get enough touches.

And on a team with a quarterback incapable of winning games, with import receivers not up to CFL standards, Cory Boyd has to be the go-to guy. "Everybody wants to be that," he said. "I'm not going to make a big deal about it. I think every back, every receiver, wants to be that guy."

He is that guy.

Only the Argos don't seem to either appreciate that, or comprehend his worth, or have the common sense to make certain that their best player on offence gets the ball more, playing behind a wonky offensive line and behind a first-year CFL quarterback who is finding his way.

In radio, it's called playing your 'A records.'

You don't play the flipside songs and hope for ratings.

If you're going to lose on Labour Day or any other day, you lose because Hamilton stopped your best player. Not because you didn't use him properly.

Three times the Argos were in the red zone against the Ticats early Monday and three times they came away disappointed. Twice, Cleo Lemon threw interceptions, not necessarily his doing. The third time, the Argos had first down on the Hamilton 10-yard line and wound up with a field goal.

Three times in the red zone in the first half, no touches on any of those plays for Cory Boyd.

"I came off, probably thinking what you're thinking," said Boyd. "I didn't understand it, but I don't make those calls. Sure, you want the ball. You're in that situation, you want the ball. I don't want to make a big deal about this. It's not for me to say ... I'm glad you see it."

He appreciated the support on a day of disappointment. This lost opportunity for the Argos was enormous Monday. A win would have tied them for first place, put them two games ahead of the Ticats, had them in terrific position to begin the second half of the schedule. Instead, they lose, are now tied with the 'Cats, and really are behind them because of their head-to-head records, heading to Vancouver to play a desperate Lions team.

It isn't an enviable position for an Argo team that began the season with shocking promise. Now the magic, if there was ever any, seems gone. The coach of the year, first-half version, suddenly is making suspect decisions, and if not him, then his offensive co-ordinator is. The Argos came to Hamilton with a pistol but left the ammunition behind when it mattered most.

"It's one of those things," said head coach Jim Barker, trying to explain wasting Boyd's labour on Labour Day. "We were first and goal from the 10. Those are tough (yards) to get. Our offensive co-ordinator (Jaime Elizondo) thought it was better to pass."

No problem with that: How about making it easy on the quarterback? A short pass to Boyd. Let the back do what he does.

In the end, Boyd carried the ball 11 times, caught the ball seven times, contributed 105 of the Argos' 428 yards of uneven offence. And with five minutes, 45 seconds to play, the fans at Ivor Wynne began the popular "Argos Suck" chant. On this day, they were not wrong.

The Argos, by the way, did score a touchdown Monday.

Just one.

It came in the third quarter. On a Cory Boyd run.

steve.simmons@sunmedia.ca Twitter: @simmonssteve


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