Argos will make a run for it

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

The Argos aren't planning to run completely amok, but the rushing game likely is to be featured more in games.

With a change in quarterbacks and the team having to adjust on the fly in the wake of Damon Allen's finger injury, rushing the football suddenly may become in vogue.

Under co-ordinator Kent Austin, the Argos have developed an offensive identity of spreading the field and spreading the football to multiple receivers, often in single or no-back sets.

The running game, on most nights, became an afterthought and no running back was able to rush in excess of 100 yards in any single game last season.

In fact, one has to go back to Oct. 21, 2004 to find the most recent rusher to crack the 100-yard mark.

But as the team prepares for Friday's road game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with Spergon Wynn lining up under centre in his first CFL start in some three years, the running game looms large.

Wynn, after all, isn't being asked to win games as Allen's temporary replacement, but rather to manage them.

In other words, expect the Argos to rush the ball more, much like they did in the second half on Saturday's season-opening win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Ricky Williams rushed for 97 yards, but most came in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter when the Argos pounded the ball.

"We weren't as crisp or fluid in the first half, but coach Austin stuck with the ground game in the second and I thought we put Hamilton's defence in tough situations," veteran centre Chad Folk said.

"You can tell the more we ran the ball and the more effective we became, it opened up more options for us offensively."

Suddenly, linebackers don't drop as deep in their coverage when they know they have to defend the run, making the underneath route more viable.

Once defenders are forced the crowd the box, the passing game becomes more diverse.

Dave Costa attended run-happy Wisconsin and loves nothing more than pounding the football and controlling the line of scrimmage.

He has seen what damage offences can do once the running game is established, moreso on first down.

"Play-action, screens, they become more effective once you establish the ground game," Costa said.

Both Folk and Costa express excitement at the prospects of running the ball more and dictating tempo, key factors when teams embark on the road in hostile environments.

"We were so close to having big runs," Costa said. "It was our first game and who knows what could happen as we move along. We could have some huge games."

Folk says the missed blocking assignments that could have resulted in longer runs have been addressed.

He also noted that the line and Williams remain a work in progress.

"Ricky's getting used to our tendencies and how we block," Folk said. "When you watch film, there were three or four plays that went for six or seven yards, but could have easily went for 15 or 20 yards. We were that close."


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