Backup looks to Duck Argo D

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

As an Oregon Duck back in the mid-1990s, Akili Smith did precious little studying of the Rich Stubler defence.

There's no sense in trying to figure out what the players on your own team are going to do when you aren't on the field.

Heading into Week 3 of his CFL career, the Calgary Stampeders backup quarterback started dissecting the Toronto Argonauts defence and saw similarities in what helped his Ducks win the 1997 Vegas Bowl.

"Stubler is doing a lot of the same things he's doing now in the bend but don't break," said Smith. "They give up a lot of underneath stuff to the college teams we played, then made a bunch of big plays late in drives. He's carried it to the CFL."

There really is no secret to the Argonauts defence under Stubler in that the defensive backs sit back and jump on passes thrown under pressure from the front seven.

The Argos picked off five balls from the Stamps pivots, including three from Smith, because once they get a lead, they sit back and wait for ... ducks. So although Smith played on a team with a Stubler defence, there are no tips he can add for his current group.

"The biggest thing is they are banking on you not being able to put together 10 to 12 play drives," Smith said.

"If they can keep you from making a big play, then you will have to settle on field goals. That's what they're basically trying to do."

When Smith played at Oregon, two of the anchors of that defence were Michael Fletcher and Kenny Wheaton, who are now the veteran leaders with the Argos. Former Duck receiver Patrick Johnson is also on the Toronto roster but is injured right now.

So Smith chatted with his former teammates last week before the huge Argos win at Rogers Centre, reliving some great times back in college.

Although Fletcher was open to giving Smith CFL pointers, no tips about the Argos defence were made available.

"He didn't want to tell me too many secrets about what they do, of course," Smith said.

"Fletch is still the anchor of that defence and Wheaton is a solid veteran player. I didn't realize how long Fletch was up here until I talked with him last week. They're good in that regard."


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