Toronto Argonauts head football coach Pinball Clemons has no desire to poke a wounded tiger cat in the eye with a pair of pointy sticks named complacency and overconfidence.
Yesterday, he drilled into his team the fact that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- humbled 40-6 just three days ago by the Argos -- are a proud and talented football team that will be out for revenge come Saturday at Rogers Centre in the second half of a home-and-home series.
"I think our biggest opponent this week is a hungry football team that is full of professionalism; that is full of players with a lot of pride and determination," Clemons said of the Ticats. "To suggest that our greatest opponents could be overconfidence and complacency is overconfident in itself."
Clemons, who has the team on a four-game winning streak since losing to Montreal in embarrassing fashion a month ago, said the key to winning Saturday will be to execute the game plan that the coaching staff has set out.
"You always like to think that if you control what you do you will always have success," he said. "But if you suggest that we should win the game then that is an overstatement. Every time you step out on the field with professional football players, it doesn't matter who is on the other side, they have a chance to win."
He said the Ticats are a good team that is just going through a rough time.
"This is a team that is very talented that we will be playing against," Clemons said. "They are going to get it together; they are going to figure it out eventually.
"It's our job to make sure they don't figure it out on our turf."
He said the worst thing the Argos can do is to think the game is won before it starts.
"There is no doubt about it that a wounded tiger is a dangerous tiger," he said. "That is our message to our players. We've played this team enough times to know that it doesn't matter what the record shows, it's always personal between us."
The message didn't escape quarterback Damon Allen, who is coming off a pro football passing record of 70,596 yards reached Monday at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium.
"We can't even think about overconfidence," Allen said. "We talked about five games that we need to come out and win. This is our fifth game of those five games that we want to win."
Allen will be honoured Saturday by the team and fans for his career passing feat before and during the game, but the veteran pivot said it will just be like any other game the teams needs to win.
"It's just a football game to me," he said yesterday at the team's U of T Erindale campus practice facility. "I know I will still have to do those things a quarterback has to do: Throw accurately, play hard and play to win."