Argos aim to rebound

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

CALGARY -- After finding a few ways to lose their home opener, the Argos are looking to rebound on the road.

The Argos arrived here yesterday in advance of tonight's game against the new-look Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium, poised to put behind last Saturday's 27-20 loss to the B.C. Lions at the Rogers Centre.

Tonight's game will have a lot of atmosphere, and not just because it's Canada Day. It kicks off a new era in Cowtown with the Stampeders' new ownership, new coaching staff, headed by Tom Higgins, who came over from Edmonton after four seasons as head coach, and several new players, principally quarterback Henry Burris and receiver Jeremaine Copeland, both free-agent signings.

"We've got to come out of here with a win," Argos cornerback Adrion Smith said. "We want to try to solidify ourselves as one of the top teams in the league. We played in spurts last week, but we've just got to be more consistent this week."

Similar to the B.C. game, the Argos face a challenge of change. Against the Lions, the Argos faced a new defence scheme created by a new defensive co-ordinator and it took a half to make adjustments. Against the Stamps, the Argos are facing a new offence, which will be run by Steve Buratto, formerly the offensive co-ordinator with B.C.

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said what's important in the situations against B.C. and Calgary because of the changes in co-ordinators and schemes is to concentrate on doing what you do well and then adjusting to the opposition.

"You take a collection of the pre-season films, the habits of the coaches and the habits of the players (like Burris and Copeland)," Clemons said. "It's a tough thing to balance."

Clemons addressed the Argos running game, which failed to do anything significantly against B.C. Then again, with few occasions in this offence since Kent Austin began co-ordinating it last year, the Argos have either fallen behind and opted not to run the ball or merely followed a game plan to pass by a ratio of almost 3-to-1 to the run.

"We'd obviously like to run the ball more," Clemons said. "Whether Calgary allows us to do that, we don't know."

Much has been made of the fact the Stamps had the bye in the first week and had a chance to see the Argos play all their starters, while conversely the Argos had a chance to get battle-tested against a solid opponent.

A TRUE TEST

"If you want to be tested, be it tested against the best," Stamps head coach Tom Higgins said. "This is going to be a true test to see exactly where we are."

"I really can't say that either team has an advantage," Copeland added. "Of course they've had one game under their belt and we've been sitting off resting, but we've got to go in there and get that game tempo and we've got to get in it fast. We don't want to peak too early, but the opening game of the season is somewhere where you really want to start around 85% and get everything fundamentally sound."


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