Allen must snap to it

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

As a guy who considers himself a playmaker, Argos receiver Arland Bruce III has some unsolicited advice for quarterback Damon Allen tonight when Toronto opens the 2007 CFL season against the B.C. Lions.

"If you go in there, you've got to make something happen," Bruce said of the man who has, temporarily at least, won the team's starting quarterback gig.

"There should be no excuses. The guys we have receiving the ball, the guys we have in the backfield ... you've got to be able to handle your business."

After a fierce battle in training camp, a tussle which may yet be unresolved, Allen gets first crack. For how long is the big question for the 30,000 or so expected at the Rogers Centre for the season-opener.

Just as anxious to get their hands on the keys to the Argos' new, higher-octane offence are backups Michael Bishop and Mike McMahon.

And the start for Allen comes with no guarantees beyond the first couple of series, never mind games.

"The guy who starts is going to start, but if things aren't going well and he's the reason, we won't hesitate to make the change," new Argos offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto said.

Allen, who played in only the second of the team's two pre-season games and got rocked, won the opportunity based on his day-to-day play during training camp.

After refusing all weeek to confirm what Buratto told Sun Media on Sunday, Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons acknowledged finally the assignment yesterday.

But Clemons promised that another quarterback --likely Bishop -- also will see some time tonight against the Lions, who are favoured by a field goal.

"We know Damon can't play forever," Clemons said, leaving the door open for change.

"We're finally in a place where we think our quarterback of the future is on our roster and that is something we are excited about."

In settling with Allen, Buratto puts the ball in familiar hands.

Buratto was the head coach with the Lions in 2000 when Allen quarterbacked them throughout a championship season.

He also has a reliable veteran to face a Lions lineup that features 36 of the 42 players who suited up for B.C. in last year's Grey Cup.

Allen realizes he may be on a short leash but vows it won't bother him as he begins his 23rd CFL season at age 43.

"No one knows the ultimate plan," Allen said yesterday following the team's walkthrough at the U of T's Erindale campus.

"That fact that one quaterback starts, who knows what will occur in Week 2 and Week 3.

"As of now, I'm only concentrating on Week 1."

Bishop, meanwhile, acknowledged he was disappointed in not getting the call but is hopeful of getting a promotion as soon as possible.

"I would say I was upset at the beginning, but at the same time I don't make the decision," said Bishop, the strong-armed thrower who impressed in the Argos pre-season opener.

"I just have to be ready. I hope I get the call."


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