Als QB Calvillo braces for offensive attack

Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo runs through practice drills on Thursday in Montreal in...

Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo runs through practice drills on Thursday in Montreal in preparation for the East final against the Argonauts. (QMI AGENCY)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:45 PM ET

The man known as A.C. can see the Argos do just about anything on defence when Sunday’s highly anticipated visit by the Argos in the East final kicks off.

Having watched film on Toronto’s defence and having gone up against the Chris Jones unit, Anthony Calvillo understands everything but the proverbial kitchen sink will be thrown at him.

Whether it’s Jamel Richardson or Brandon London, Calvillo has seen the Argos gone with a bracket defence to nullify a pass catcher, which leaves others in man to man coverage, at times with no over-the-top help.

“They get away with it because they are that good, to be honest with you,’’ Calvillo said. “It’s very impressive to have that kind of trust where you’re leaving guys one on one with no help.”

One of the most intriguing areas to watch on Sunday is how the Argos decide to attack Calvillo and an offence that has the potential to be explosive.

From the moment Marc Trestman arrived in Montreal, he devised a system where his quarterback, in this case Calvillo, was protected.

On most plays, max protection gets used with double tight ends, even triple tight ends.

The Argos can try to outnumber the Als on the line of scrimmage, a strategy that does mean man coverage.

For Calvillo, the focus has been and remains on his preparation, a staple that goes unnoticed and almost unappreciated given all the records he’s established.

“It’s all about knowing the game plan,’’ he said.

To hear Calvillo tell it, the days leading up to kickoff is akin to cramming for an exam, an intense period of going over every detail, every possible look and counter the Argos may use.

The butterflies and anxiousness are as intense as though Calvillo were playing in his first post-season game.

“I guess over the years I’ve been able to control them, but I still feel them,’’ he said. “If I don’t and I lose that stuff, then it’s time for me to quit.”

There’s no quit in Calvillo, who has always left everything out on the field.

The last five times Montreal has played host to the East final, the Als have gone on to play in the Grey Cup.

In 2004, the Argos beat the Als and literally beat up Calvillo, who was forced to leave the game.

Momentum is clearly on Toronto’s side, but Calvillo says he’s never taken stock in the intangible, which sees the Argos come to town on a three-game win streak and playing at their highest level, by far their most confident level.

“It’s hard to say,’’ said Calvillo when asked about momentum. “I never looked at it that way. All I know is that each team is here with a great chance to earn their spot in the 100th Grey Cup. We enjoyed that bye (week) but that’s behind us now.”

What A.C. does know is that a CFL team is only as good as its Canadian talent.

Calgary’s Jon Cornish is up for most outstanding player, while Als teammate Shea Emry is in the running for top defensive player.

Cornish and Emry will battle each other for top Canadian honours next week in Toronto.

“I learned you cannot win without great Canadian talent,’’ Calvillo said. “If Canadian talent is suspect and average, I truly believe you’re going to have an average team. Here, we don’t have that.’’

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca

 


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