One small step for Ricky

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:03 PM ET

Boy, that was some debut for Richie Williams, er, rather Ricky Williams.

The Argonauts' Ricky Williams, the high-profile running back on a one-year suspension from the National Football League, actually was bettered in the rushing yardage department by the comparatively unknown Tiger-Cat.

And the Williams Tiger-Cats beat the Williams Argos 31-3 last night at the Rogers Centre in the first pre-season game for both teams. The game attracted a crowd of 21,469.

Ricky Williams, who made his Argos/Canadian Football League debut with five seconds left in the first quarter and played the entire second quarter, tallied only seven yards.

"I think I did a pretty good job. I didn't forget any plays," he said with a smile. "Did a decent job on pass protection. Obviously, I didn't have a lot of yards running the ball, but I felt pretty good.

"It felt good, it felt natural. I wasn't nervous. I felt comfortable out there, comfortable with the offence."

Williams joked that after the game it felt as if every one of the Tiger-Cats wanted to shake his hand. When asked if that happened to him before, he paused and said: "No, not really."

But he did recall one game when he ran for 223 yards against Buffalo and the Bills players shook his hand in appreciation.

"It's just a process," he said of his learning curve. "I come in here and it's my job to be prepared for the opening game and I definitely moved one step closer to being ready for the home opener.

"It's only one quarter but they came ready to play. It's football. The calibre of play doesn't mean anything. If your team steps up to match them, then you guys are equal. It's a team sport and one player is not going to make that big of a difference."

Williams enjoyed the opportunity to run to the line of scrimmage, something that is prohibited in the NFL.

"It's fun, that's the best way to describe it," he said. "The fact you get a head start on the defence and they don't know where you're going.

"It's just learning the game. The biggest thing was to see the game. To see the speed of the game; to see how players play."

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said Williams' performance was about what he expected, given his limited touches.

"I think it was good that he didn't do anything spectacular," Clemons said. "He is not a guy that shies away from hard work. He works hard anyway, but it's going to let him know that in order to be successful in this league he is going to have to work maybe the hardest he has ever worked to this point in his career.

"All in all, I thought he recognized things, he ran hard, he played hard and was a very average back in terms of the carries that he got, but he'll get stronger the more times he touches the ball."

Clemons said no decision has been made whether or not Williams will play in the pre-season finale this Friday in Hamilton. He added it will have everything to do with Williams' preparation and his readiness to begin the season, and nothing to do with the hostile Ivor Wynne environment.

Hamilton started its first-team offence and jumped out to a 14-0 lead, while its first-team defence blitzed early and often against starting Argos pivot Spergon Wynn, who struggled. Regular starter Damon Allen came in with Williams late in the first and played the entire second.

Rookie kicker Jaco Booyens, the former Aussie rugby player, scored the Argos' only points on a 44-yard field goal that bounced forward off the crossbar.

---

RICKY WILLIAMS' DEBUT ... PLAY-BY-PLAY

Ricky Williams was involved in 15 plays in his first game as an Argo. Plays in which he touched the ball are bold-faced.

QT DOWN BALL DESCRIPTION

1 1-10 T35 Two-yard run up middle

2 2-8 T37 Good cut block on passing play

2 1-10 T32 Play action pass, Williams in backfield, incomplete

2 2-10 T32 Open on route in the flat, but throw goes elsewhere

2 1-10 T35 Three-yard run on pitch to right

2 2-7 T38 Makes block on completed pass

2 1-10 T48 Blocker on pass play

2 2-10 T48 Runs passing route, ball completed elsewhere

2 1-10 H48 Quarterback run

2 2-2 H40 Minus-one yard. Stuffed by Tim Cheatwood

2 3-3 H41 Non-intended receiver on pass play

2 1-10 T35 Three-yard run to right, tackled despite stiff arm

2 2-7 T38 Falls down, QB sack

2 1-10 T18 Runs route, Argos called for chop block

2 2-14 T14 Covered well on route


Videos

Photos