Better get crackin', Rich

Rich Stubler takes full responsibility for the Argos' 3-5 record. (Sun Media/Jack Boland)

Rich Stubler takes full responsibility for the Argos' 3-5 record. (Sun Media/Jack Boland)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

His job might not be on the line, but Rich Stubler probably doesn't want to know what could happen if things get much worse for the Argonauts.

Though he has made a couple of significant moves in the past few days with the release of Orlondo Steinauer and the trade of quarterback Michael Bishop, the Argos head coach yesterday took responsibility for the club's 3-5 record.

"(The onus) should have been on me from Day 1," Stubler said. "I'm 3-5. I don't critique myself, but I am 3-5. I don't worry about what I did yesterday. I need to be successful in what I do today. It's all on how I can affect the players and how they play in the final analysis."

General manager Adam Rita addressed the media -- a contingent which has grown the past two days at Erindale as the Argos shake it up -- and was asked about the job Stubler has done in his first kick at being a CFL head coach.

"He's 3-5, that's what I think," Rita said. "All coaches need to win and that's his job too. His job is to put this team together to make them play on the same page and have the same goal.

"If you're a great football coach, you have to have 48-50 guys on the same page. It's hard to get your wife or husband on the same page (let alone that number of athletes)."

Not all of the changes made by Stubler, who acknowledged that being a head coach is "a big change" from his days as a defensive co-ordinator, as the team prepares for the annual Labour Day Classic in Hamilton against the Tiger-Cats on Monday night have come through a major player transaction. Former CFL all-star Mike Walker has been added to the staff as a defensive consultant, and Rita was on the field yesterday, helping to direct the running backs. Overall, practices the past two days have been intense.

Rookie Jason Shivers has been tabbed to start against the Tiger-Cats at defensive back as Kenny Wheaton slides over to take Steinauer's spot at free safety. Andre Maddox and Aaron Wagner could get increased roles as well as the Argos try to come up with a plan to stop the defensive hemoraging.

"It's great to be out there with the (starters)," Shivers said. "I've been working toward that goal, and now that it has happened, I am going to go out and play my heart out."

With no experience behind quarterback Kerry Joseph, there was a rumour that Toronto might consider bringing back Damon Allen, who retired in May. But Rita denied that he has been in contact with the 44-year-old Allen.

"We've moved on," Rita said. "You never say never, but I doubt (seeing a return by Allen)."

The Argos twice have been pummelled by the Ticats this season, and might have a whopper on their hands in five days. Hamilton running back Jesse Lumsden (ankle) and quarterback Casey Printers (thumb) practised yesterday and could be in the lineup, while receiver Tony Miles (hamstring) has been cleared to play. The statuses of Lumsden and Printers should become clearer in the next couple of days.

"It was encouraging that Casey was able to throw and was able to take significant reps (yesterday) and Jesse was able to do more," Ticats head coach Charlie Taaffe said in a telephone interview. "I'm hopeful they will play but it is still to early. They are day to day."


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