Ticats coach supports Pinball

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

Greg Marshall isn't about to pull a Buono.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach said yesterday he supported the move of his Argos counterpart, Pinball Clemons, who sat out 10 starters and limited the playing time of a few others in Toronto's regular-season finale, which they lost 58-20 to the Montreal Alouettes last Thursday at the SkyDome.

It's expected all or most of the players will be in the lineup for this Friday's Eastern Division semi-final game against the Tiger-Cats at the SkyDome.

Marshall's comments opposed the remarks issued by Wally Buono, the B.C. Lions' general manager/head coach who said the Argos' move was an embarrassment to the Canadian Football League.

"The whole thing was Toronto came off three games in 10 days and guys were banged up," Marshall said. "I totally understand (what Clemons did). The guys who he put in to play tried their hardest. You may say they made some mistakes, but they were trying their hardest. But they got beat by a good team."

Marshall played most of his starters on Saturday in a game against Ottawa that had no bearing on the standings. Marshall said he wanted to win the game for purposes of momentum and to have a winning season.

While he rested most of his starters after the first half and rotated in some backups, the Tiger-Cats prevailed 24-19 over the Renegades to finish the season with a 9-8-1 record after a disastrous 1-17 record the year before. Marshall, who is completing his first year coaching at the pro level, is the overwhelming choice for coach-of-the-year honours.

AMERSON TESTS LEG

Slotback Archie Amerson, who missed the final two regular-season games following orthroscopic knee surgery, practised yesterday and will try it again today to see if he can play on Friday. The Tiger-Cats have to declare their roster by tomorrow afternoon.

"If it flares up, better to find out now versus the first quarter (on Friday)," Marshall said.

Defensive tackle Adriano Belli, who missed the last game of the season with a recurring calf injury that limited his playing time in the penultimate game against Toronto, is also expected to suit up.

KICKING DILEMMA

Even though the Tiger-Cats were burned on the opening kickoff against the Argos the previous time they met when Toronto return specialist Bashir Levingston ran it 95 yards for a touchdown, Marshall isn't expected to change strategy this time for kickoffs.

"You pretty much have to (kick it the distance instead of squib-kicking)," Marshall said. "You've got Bashir on one side and Arland (Bruce) on the other. You really don't have a choice. As good as Bashir is, Arland is just as good. Pick your poison."

Marshall said containment will be the key. He wouldn't declare whether he'll punt the ball to the Argos returners or kick out of bounds.


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