Two backs OK with Bruce

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET

The Toronto Argonauts' all-star wide receiver Arland Bruce just loves the plan that has both of the team's premier running backs -- Ricky Williams and John Avery -- starting Monday against the Edmonton Eskimos at Rogers Centre.

Argos coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons will introduce the two-pronged ground attack for the first time this season in an effort to add some life to an offence that finally looks healthy after months of injuries to key personnel.

When Williams arrived from the NFL Miami Dolphins on a lend-lease program after he was suspended for failing a drug test, he replaced Avery in the offensive backfield. But just a month into the season, Williams broke his arm in a game against Saskatchewan.

And just a few games later, Avery was out with an ankle injury.

It was left to the receiving corps of Bruce, Andre Talbot, Keith Stokes and Tony Miles to provide most of the offensive output for the team.

At times, especially during the team's five game winning streak in September, even that effort had to be backed up by a sterling defence to keep the squad headed in the right direction.

Bruce feels with the running backs all healthy it will make things better for him and the whole team.

"You want to believe that is good," Bruce said yesterday after practice at the team's University of Toronto Erindale campus facility.

"I know (myself) and the other receivers feel that if (Edmonton's defence) has to play against that running game we will each get an opportunity to take (long passes) four or five times a game."

He said that the talent and threat that the Williams/Avery combination brings into the game will free him and his mates to run more effective patterns.

"The running game always sets up the passing game in this league," Bruce said. "And when you have a running game with both those guys it's going to be something to see."

Bruce said that the Eskimos defence will be seeing a whole different attack.

"They are going to have to pick their poison," he said.

"They (the Eskimos) are defending Grey Cup champions, but they are coming to our house," he said. "We are one of the hottest teams in the league right now."

The Argos have won six of their past seven games.


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