Argos' O-line taking shape

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

The Argos' O-line is looking oh-so good.

And with each passing day and each cut made, the look of the team's unit is beginning to take shape.

Following yesterday's release of Nik Sobic and Ben Brielmaier, the Argos are down to their elite eight of offensive linemen.

Ideally, head coach Rich Stubler wants to keep six on the active roster and one on reserve as the countdown to the Argos' June 27 season opener continues.

Jude St. John and Chad Folk, the unit's most experienced linemen, have been asked by Stubler to set the tone.

Jerome Davis, Ross Weaver, Mark Dewit, Scott Evans, Taylor Robertson and Brian Ramsay form the rest of the offensive linemen competing for jobs.

When the Argos gathered for training camp a fortnight ago, the team featured 12 offensive linemen.

"Everybody who is left has a chance to make our team,'' Stubler said on a day when torrential rains and ominous skies forced the Argos to shorten their workout.

"I really like how our line is developing."

With the Argos bent on establishing more of a rushing identity after years of being pass-happy, being able to dominate the line of scrimmage is as important as it is obvious to any balanced offence.

Part of Stubler's optimism is based on the presence of offensive line coach Bill MacDermott, who rejoined the club after years of service with the Edmonton Eskimos.

When Stubler was asked to coach the Argos, the first call he made was to MacDermott, affectionately known as Coach Mac.

MacDermott is one of those rare coaches who has the ability to relate with players and inspire them.

Stubler tells the story of his days in Edmonton, where MacDermott's influence on his players was pronounced.

"I remember Randy Ambrosie playing on one leg,'' Stubler recalled. "Players will play for (MacDermott) until their dying breath.

"He's the best I've ever seen because his players are the most prepared. He has got the Mac style, a knack for getting more out of his players."

The Argos wrap up their pre-season with Thursday's home kickoff against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

On Saturday, their 46-man active roster will be set.

Stubler likes his two-man quarterback rotation that features Kerry Joseph and Michael Bishop.

Who will line up in the backfield is an evolving theme, one that will be made a little clearer today when the status of Andre Durie is determined.

Durie injured his thumb in last Thursday's 34-34 deadlock in Montreal on a freak incident when the York University product caught the thumb underneath his shoulder pads.

MARC OF EXCELLENCE

Thursday marks the first time in ages that Argos' fans won't hear the soothing strains of Marc Chambers, the in-stadium voice since 1989.

Chambers, who passed away on May 2, touched many lives and his courageous battle against cancer inspired many people.

"From the first day I met Marc, I could tell he had a real enthusiasm, interest and love of the game,'' long-time friend and Argo alumnus Mike Campbell said.

Adam Gosse, who was mentored by Chambers, will handle the in-stadium responsibilities this season.

The Argos plan to honour Chambers and former Toronto Sun sports editor George Gross at their regular-season home opener on July 3.


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