Calvillo credits Argos coach for his CFL success

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

If Anthony Calvillo shreds the Argonauts defence this afternoon, he might want to send Argos head coach Don Matthews a tasty beverage after the game.

The Alouettes quarterback yesterday said it was Matthews, who took over as Montreal's coach in 2002 before leaving in 2006, who gave his career a major jump-start.

"He's the one who really said: 'Let's see what Anthony can do,' " Calvillo said. "He was the one who set me off. He spread my wings, had the confidence that I was going to go out there and put up a lot of yards."

Prior to Matthews landing in Montreal, the offence was built around running back Mike Pringle. But when Calvillo became the main offensive thrust, he took to it like the Maple Leafs to lousy defence.

Consider that before Matthews took over, Calvillo never had passed for more than 5,000 yards in one CFL season. In 2002, he racked up 5,013 yards in the air, and in the ensuing six seasons has passed 5,000 yards four times. With 5,106 yards under his belt this season and three games to play, it's conceivable Calvillo could hit 6,000 yards for the second time. With 38 touchdown passes, Calvillo already has a career high.

"Anything is possible," Calvillo, 36, said. "If we can win our last three games, the 6,000 yards might come naturally, but it's not something I am concerned with."

No, the Alouettes, at 10-5 under first-year coach Marc Trestman, would rather play solid football instead of coasting into the playoffs. They have first place in the otherwise poor East Division wrapped up and will get a bye to the East final.

With the Grey Cup in Montreal on Nov. 23, the Als want to be the centre of attention at their own party.

Here's some bad news for the Argos: The Alouettes, a far superior team, already have experienced the sensation of a splash of cold water in the face, something that came in the form of a loss to the weak Hamilton Tiger-Cats two weeks ago. And they have no intention of something similar occurring again.

"It was a wakeup call, for sure," centre Bryan Chiu said. "One of the big things it taught us was not to take any team lightly.

"When we have clinched before, we have rested guys and taken things lightly, and we have always struggled in crunch time in terms of clicking. We don't want to look ahead, and just try to get better every week."

Trestman didn't buy the idea that the Alouettes should roll over the Argos, calling them a "formidable" opponent.

"Two weeks ago, the numbers did not support the Tiger-Cats either," Trestman said. "(The Argos) continue to play hard for coach Matthews. They are a physical team."


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