Stamps' Taylor rues winless record against Owens, Argos

Calgary Stampeders SB Larry Taylor eludes Hamilton's Matt Bucknor during the fourth quarter of...

Calgary Stampeders SB Larry Taylor eludes Hamilton's Matt Bucknor during the fourth quarter of their CFL game in Hamilton on Aug. 9, 2012. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 PM ET

CALGARY - Larry Taylor claims he doesn't compare numbers when it comes to former teammate and friend Chad Owens.

But the diminutive Calgary Stampeders returner can easily rattle off 0-3.

Since coming to the Stamps last season, Taylor is winless in three tries against Owens and the Toronto Argonauts.

Even when he's made an impact play, such as the 125-yard missed field-goal return TD against them in Week 2, the Stamps have lost.

"It's about time (that changes)," Taylor said about Saturday's meeting with the Argos at McMahon Stadium.

"I know the record. It's not good. It's all I care about. Wins and losses.

"I do look forward to playing against him. It's all about the fans. You want to give them some excitement.

"We enjoy watching each other. It's competitive but we root for one another."

In any other year, Taylor would be getting recognized even more for what he's done in the return game.

Through six games, the 27-year-old is on pace to top Pinball Clemons' single-season yardage mark of 3,840.

The trouble is, so is Owens, who leads the CFL with 1,460 combined yards in six games.

The difference with the Argos workhorse is the Flyin' Hawaiian is playing every down on offence, as well as special teams.

Is Taylor jealous of his former Montreal Alouettes teammate's advantage? Not at all, he said.

"We're deep in receiver here," Taylor said. "They aren't as deep over there. It's one of those situations he's taking advantage of.

"Special teams is my thing. When the coaches decide to get me more involved, get me a touch here or there, I take advantage of them. I try to make the best of those opportunities so they keep me in mind when they are thinking of putting in plays."

Taylor is on pace for 1,245 punt-return yards this season, which would be the second-best single season of all-time behind the legendary Gizmo Williams.

He's also working towards 2,031 kickoff-return yards, which would blow away Ian Smart's mark of 1,805, although Winnipeg's Demond Washington actually has more than Taylor so far this season.

Getting off to a good start is easy, Taylor said, and the real challenge is maintaining it through an entire season.

That's where Owens excels. He's the only player in history to go over 3,000 combined yards in consecutive seasons.

This year, by leading the Argos in receiving yardage, Owens is on pace for more than 4,000 combined yards.

"As the games go on, it's tougher and tougher to get yards," Taylor said. "The coverages are getting better. Things are tightening up. That's why you are seeing more returns earlier in the year."

The numbers bear it out. In the first three weeks, returners averaged 12.4 yards per punt but in the past four weeks that number had dropped to 8.4.

"Early on, there are newer guys in the CFL who don't have the experience to truly understand the importance of running down in coverage lanes," Taylor said.

"I've said for the longest time, once the guys get their feet under them, the big returns will slow down tremendously.

"Then it's an even playing field. That's when the big returns truly make a difference."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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