Redemption time for Argos

Toronto Argos head coach Mike 'Pinball' Clemons gets his team ready this week to face the Montreal...

Toronto Argos head coach Mike 'Pinball' Clemons gets his team ready this week to face the Montreal Alouettes Saturday. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

To the normal eye, the 55-yard line is nothing more than a strip of white paint on the synthetic grass turf.

Unless you were a member of the Argos two weeks ago.

During a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes, the Argos played as if the Great Wall of China had been constructed at midfield of Percival Molson Stadium, cleaving the gridiron into two equal halves.

Not once did the injury-riddled Toronto offence manage to cross into Montreal territory, a pathetic showing that led to the firing of offensive coordinator Kent Austin.

In an informal survey conducted of Argos players this week, almost none had competed in a game in which an offence went 60 minutes without being able to reach midfield.

The rare exception was receiver R.J. Soward, who recalled one such embarrassing showing during his college days.

"Back in my senior year in 2000, we lost to Florida State by a 17-0 score," Soward recalled yesterday. "We had 22 yards rushing yards and seven passing yards."

No big deal. Deep-pocketed schools like Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles always are stomping over small schools like No Where State and Useless U.

"Maybe that's true but it wasn't the case with us," he said. "I played for USC, one of the biggest football schools around."

The moral of this story?

"That Montreal game was nothing. You have games like that," Soward said.

The Argos brass obviously held a different opinion on the matter, pulling the trigger on Austin within days.

Now the onus falls on general manager Adam Rita and receivers coach Paul LaPolice to find a solution to a smothering Als defence when the two teams lock horns tomorrow at the Rogers Centre.

At least the Argos offence will have a significantly different look than it did in the previous encounter with the Als. Soward, quarterback Damon Allen and running back John Avery will be in the lineup after missing the Als loss with injuries.

Coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons also is hopeful that receiver/kick returner Keith Stokes has recovered from a nagging knee injury to suit up.

Allen is the key, throwing for 319 yards in a 20-2 victory over the Hamilton Ticats last weekend at Ivor Wynne Stadium that hoisted the Argos record to 3-5.

The Als, meanwhile, suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 27-24 decision to the Calgary Stampeders to go 7-1.

"Everybody's beatable but (the Als) will be less beatable after their loss to Calgary," Rita said. "Don (Matthews) knows how to fire them up.

"As far as that (31-7 spanking), that's history. We don't dwell on it.

"We are going to try and be aggressive. We're not just going to say "Come and get us, baby!"


Videos

Photos