Fans turn 'em green

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

REGINA -- Believe it or not there will be life for the Argos, for one game anyway, without Bashir Levingston.

Following all the helmet hullabaloo involving the return specialist and his one-game suspension, the Argos face the Saskatchewan Roughriders tonight.

The Argos have not played since beating Hamilton 48-0 on Sept. 10. It seems like an eternity, particularly with the controversy surrounding Levingston and whether he would appeal the CFL's suspension for throwing his helmet into the crowd following the Argos' 33-30 loss to the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton on Labour Day.

And if Ivor Wynne Stadium on Labour Day was considered a hostile environment, the venue will be equally testy tonight because the Roughriders are on a three-game winning streak and Rider Pride is alive and well.

"Not only are they fervent fans, but they're also educated fans," Argos coach Pinball Clemons said yesterday. "They know when to cheer (and) when not to cheer. They're savvy about the game. They know and understand the emotion. They know (players) personally, too. They know what might get under a guy's skin.

"Some people come to a game and they don't know the opposing team's players. Here, they'll know the players and things that have happened over the years. If Bashir was here, they'd be educated about that and they may be teasing him about that."

The president of the Roughriders has threatened a one-year ban for fans who act boorishly at the team's home games and security was heightened for its most recent game.

Argos long-snapper Randy Srochenski, who was born and raised in Saskatchewan and played for the Roughriders, said the Argos can't worry about the crowd.

"It's always difficult to go into anyone's backyard and play, but when they're on a little bit of a winning streak it's probably that much tougher," Srochenski said. "We just have to be ready to do what we need to do."

Argos safety Orlondo Steinauer said there are several concerns playing at Taylor Field.

"Saskatchewan just poses different challenges, from the wind, the weather, (the fact) we're playing (the Roughriders) later in the year, but more than that they're on a roll," Steinauer said. "The environment is fun. It's not anything to worry about."

Clemons has preached to his players to take advantage of opportunities early and not wait for the game to come to them.

"We've notoriously been slow starters, especially slow starters after long layoffs, so we really want to focus on the start," he said.


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