It's Matthews' way or the highway

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Don Matthews once referred to football as a dictatorship.

"And I'm the head dic," he said.

Well, the self-anointed "dic" is back and one thing is certain -- there will be changes in how the Argos practise, who starts and more importantly, who gets released.

Matthews style and approach have not changed, regardless of the situation he inherits, regardless of which team he has been asked to turn around in a coaching career that spans 30 years.

"It's a dose of Don," Matthews said yesterday. "I do it with straight talk."

Chad Folk, Jude St. John, Mike O'Shea and Mike Vanderjagt all played under Matthews when the CFL's winningest coach guided the Argos to back to back Grey Cup titles in 1996 and '97.

Folk was the only player in attendance yesterday when the Argos announced that Matthews was replacing the deposed Rich Stubler.

"He's the Don," Folk said. "He brings confidence. Some people think it's a cockiness, but it's a confidence."

Folk felt disappointed in Stubler's dismissal, but expressed excitement at the prospects of Matthews weaving his magic.

"He's going to evaluate the talent," Folk said. "He's going to give us the best chance to win."

Friday's meeting against visiting Winnipeg provides Matthews with his first look at his team in a game situation.

In all likelihood, it will be the last for a handful of players. Matthews does not stand pat and he will discard players who don't buy into his system, which puts the onus squarely on the players.

In a nutshell, those who buy in, stay. Those who don't will be shown the door.

BLACK OR WHITE

"There's no grey area with Don," Argos general manager Adam Rita said. "It's either black or white."

Matthews has rid himself of popular players in the past when he immediately takes over teams. Rest assured that changes are afoot and no player, regardless of experience, is safe.

Players such as O'Shea, Michael Fletcher, Adriano Belli, Arland Bruce III, to name a few, all will be under the microscope.

The Argos have become stale and lethargic. With so little time, Matthews will crack the whip.

Matthews' teams like to play on the edge, which is football-speak for being aggressive. Matthews' teams always are prepared.

Perhaps Matthews' greatest skill is on special teams, where he takes risks in situations no other coach would dare contemplate.

The Argos, under Stubler, have had poor cover teams.

The Argos under Stubler never have properly utilized Dominique Dorsey.

Not anymore. Not with Matthews back in charge.


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