LaPolice cops kudos

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

He is often the first to arrive at Argos headquarters, and if he can outlast nighthawk head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons, the last to leave.

That may make Paul LaPolice the hardest-working receivers coach in the CFL.

But don't let the title fool you.

In the offence-by-committee approach the team has utilized since the firing of offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin early in the season, LaPolice has played an expanded role.

Working under general manager Adam Rita, who has taken over much of the offensive duties, the New Hampshire native puts together the offensive game plan each week.

"He's legitimately a co-ordinator now -- that's what he's doing," Clemons said yesterday. "He just doesn't have the title.

"Adam has such a creative mind and every once in a while I sneak a suggestion in there. But on any given day, it is coach LaPolice who provides the structure and the backbone. He's the detail guy on the offensive side of the ball."

A former offensive co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, LaPolice has a more humble description of his position.

He has been able to take the best of Austin's ideas, marry those with Rita's, plus integrate input from quarterback Damon Allen.

"I like to think of it as offence by committee," LaPolice said following practice yesterday in Oakville where the team is preparing for Saturday's date in Edmonton against the struggling Eskimos.

"When Adam came in, he kind of mixed his system with (Austin's). My job was to bridge the terminology. I pull it all together and set the game plan off of what everybody says.

"I guess my role is getting everyone in the same spot and on the same page."

With the two-pronged backfield of Ricky Williams and John Avery and multiple receiving threats, those pages are getting full. Finding innovative ways to make it all work may be LaPolice's ultimate strength, however.

"The one thing coach LaPo brings is creativity," said receiver Arland Bruce III, who played under LaPolice for the explosive 2002 Blue Bombers. "He takes the guys he has around him and utilizes them in so many different ways.

"I don't think we've seen the best of what he can do yet."

Indeed, an offence that was compromised by injury and upheaval is starting to show signs of hitting its top stride.

But LaPolice says the unit, which ranks near the league bottom in several statistical categories, needs to be more consistent.

"We hope to keep getting better each week and to play our best football the last game of the year," LaPolice said.

"And we want that to be in the Grey Cup."


Videos

Photos