Argos must contain bruising back

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

B.C. Lions coach Wally Buono refers to football as a "now business."

Never has that been more clear than this week in B.C.

The Lions released 2005 CFL rushing touchdown leader Antonio Warren after he struggled with running and blocking in the early stages of the season, replacing him with the flavour of the week, Joe Smith.

The CFL rookie, who set an NFL Europe record with six consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games last season with the Rhein Fire, rushed for 138 yards and scored three touchdowns in a win over the Calgary Stampeders last week. That performance helped pave the way for Warren's release, while also setting the stage for a second start in a row for Smith.

"There is no added pressure," the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Smith said. "I just heard (Warren was released) and I was like, 'Okay, the starting job is mine.' "

Smith doesn't have a confidence problem. Earlier this week, he told the Vancouver Sun: "All I can say is I've been a 1,000-yard back in high school, junior college, at Louisiana Tech and in NFL Europe.

"And I expect to be a 1,000-yard back in this league."

Smith certainly has captured the attention of the Argos.

"He reminds me of a (Sean) Millington with breakaway speed," Argos linebacker Michael Fletcher said. "He has great size, catches the ball pretty well and he did all the right things last week. We've got to confuse him and make him chatter his feet a bit. We can't just let him run the ball downhill. The first crack of daylight he gets, he hits it pretty hard."

Smith is one of those bruising backs who isn't afraid to run over defenders.

"Being a bigger guy I'm holding a lot more weight," he said. "Any time I've got momentum going and you've got a smaller guy, it's just the laws of physics."


Videos

Photos