Balanced attack is key

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

It's a weapon that for the most part has remained in the Argonauts' holster, but under offensive coordinator Steve Buratto, the run game is back in play.

Buratto is a firm believer in making an opposing defence prepare for anything on any given play and that means getting the number of running plays up. To favour the pass over the run or vice versa, even in a passing league like the CFL is, in Buratto's mind, just making life easier for your opposition.

So when John Avery carried the ball 20 times last Thursday against the Montreal Alouettes -- a year ago the Argos rushed the ball on average 15 times a game -- it wasn't a reflection of a passing game that hasn't found its rhythm just yet, it was part of Buratto's grand scheme to become a balanced attack, forcing opposing defences to respect the pass and the run.

But the balanced attack has much more going for it than just that.

Consider the offensive linemen. In a predominantly pass-happy offence, they are continually back-pedalling holding off defensive linemen and linebackers who, with ears pinned back, only have one thing to worry about and that is getting to the quarterback.

Running the ball changes the roles as the offensive linemen become the aggressors jumping ahead to push the defence around and create holes for the running game.

Take it from first-year Argo Taylor Robertson. There's no such thing as an offensive lineman who prefers pass blocking to run blocking.

"I hope not. He's in the wrong position if he does," Robertson said. "Especially in the CFL, you're already a yard off the ball so if you're pass blocking you're stepping backwards and giving them more of a run at you. We definitely prefer to get after them. It's something to look forward to but unfortunately if you're down early like we were against Calgary a couple of weeks ago it's just pass, pass, pass."

Head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons considered the play of the offensive line in his team's 26-13 loss to Montreal, the best he has seen an Argos offensive control the line of scrimmage in many years.

Clemons expects that as the year goes on that unit will get stronger as it gets closer and gets a better grasp of Buratto's system.

For his part, Buratto believes an offence only can reach its potential when it's capable of moving the ball both through the air and on the ground.

EXPERIENCED

Buratto says his belief in what makes a good offence stems from his years as a defensive coordinator.

"The more things a defence has to deal with at the snap of the ball, and the less it can discern one thing from another, the more crisp and finer tuned it has to be," he said. "When you play the game at its best, it's a matter of inches and those inches can be created for the offence when the defence doesn't know what is coming."


Photos