Argos offence will take time to adjust

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from a road trip in Winnipeg:

It seems every year the Argos defence is forced to carry the load early in the season until the offence comes along.

This year, the Argos likely will take time to figure out their identity on offence because of the addition of high-profile running back Ricky Williams and the decision to make a concerted effort to run the ball, particularly on first down. With veteran quarterback Damon Allen sidelined indefinitely with a broken finger and first-year Argo Spergon Wynn promoted into a starting role despite limited experience since joining the Canadian Football League in 2003, expect the Argos to go through growing pains.

The Argos had little offence in their 16-9 loss to Winnipeg on Friday. Winnipeg's defence repeatedly shut the Argos down on first down and registered a whopping six sacks.

"You're not going to win when you get sacked six times and you don't do a good job on first down," Williams said.

The offensive line needs to improve overall.

"Giving up one sack is too many, so obviously giving up six is pretty embarrassing on our end, to be honest with you," centre Chad Folk said. "Him being a younger quarterback, we need to understand that and we need to block longer basically for him and give him a better opportunity. And we need to be better in the run game on first down."

The responsibility of making it work belongs to offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin, who is a proponent of the passing game. But, it's too early to panic. As that noted football sage Pinball Clemons is prone to say, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

ROBERTS GETS HIS WISH

Blue Bombers running back Charles Roberts says he wants to change his jersey from No. 1 to No. 32 in his team's next game, which happens to fall on July 1, then he carries the ball 32 times in the win against Toronto.

Is there some great force of energy that determined Roberts would carry the ball 32 times as a kind of symbol? After all, he had only 12 rushing attempts in the previous game. Clearly, Blue Bombers rookie head coach Doug Berry, a former offensive co-ordinator in Montreal, and Mike Gibson, the Bombers' current offensive co-ordinator/offensive line coach, heeded Roberts' public demands for more touches, but was 32 the magic number? Eerie, to say the least.

GREY CUP GUARDIAN

Mario Vespa spent a few days in the 'Peg chaperoning the Grey Cup as part of a promotion to raise money for food banks across Canada. Vespa is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum Management Committee and his business card reads: Grey Cup Ambassador.

Vespa and a former Hall of Fame induction committee member formed the idea to take the Grey Cup to the championship game beginning in 1985 in Montreal. The Cup appeared in the Grey Cup parade that year.

Vespa, who is semi-retired from work in the temperature control business, annually spends about a month with the Cup, which last year was presented at more than 85 events. The Cup was once just a bowl on a small base that Vespa carried along in a duffel bag, but in 1987, a bigger base was added. Collectively, it weighs about 58 pounds and is shipped in a metal case.

"It's really a fun job," Vespa said yesterday, just before collecting the Cup from the conveyor belt at the airport and heading home to Hamilton. "I get to meet a lot of people, some of the ball players, and you're doing a good thing, too."

THIS AND THAT

Saw an episode of the reality series Flavor of Love on the flight home and now believe Flavor Flav and Argo receiver R. Jay Soward were separated at birth ... Also separated at birth: Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn and actor Don Cheadle ... Blue Bomber fans took great delight during the game against the Argos verbally taunting Williams.


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