Andrus has plan for Argos

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Complacency helped steer the Argonauts to a pitiful 4-14 record last season.

In 2009, it could drive those who fall under its spell right out of town.

After months of preparation, Argos head coach Bart Andrus finally will get his mitts on some of his players today, as rookies and quarterbacks hit the field at the club's training facility in Mississauga for the first day of camp.

Approximately 43 players, including veteran quarterbacks Kerry Joseph, Reggie McNeal (but who will line up at receiver once the season starts), Cody Pickett and newcomers Stephen Reaves and Kinsmon Lancaster will be on the gridiron, with the remaining vets in for medicals on Saturday and on the field this Sunday.

"It comes soon enough because we had some catching up to do," Andrus said of getting accustomed to the Canadian Football League along with most of his staff. "We're comfortable now."

Andrus didn't have to undergo any soul-searching exercises when he was being interviewed for the Argos' head coaching job during the winter, but he had no choice but to watch every down of Argos football from 2008, so there were some hardships for the 51-year-old. It became clear to Andrus after viewing the tapes how his first training camp running the Argos ship would evolve.

"We're not going to dwell on what happened last year, but we saw too many guys basically watching, and that was on the field, on both sides of the ball," Andrus said. "There are three major areas where we will have emphasis -- we're going to become better tacklers, we need to block better and we need to practise faster so we can play faster."

EARN YOUR SPOT

Though the majority of positions on the roster appear to be set, Andrus is not willing to concede spots because of seniority.

"I can honestly say I don't know who is going to be starting," Andrus said. "Whether players do what we want them to do, we don't know yet. I'm going in with no pre-conceived notions as to who can do what. We're totally seeing it through new eyes."

One young Argo with designs of making a strong first impression on Andrus is slotback Mike Bradwell, the team's first selection in 2008. Bradwell arrived at camp with a wonky hamstring last year and it got only worse, forcing him to the sideline after just two days and precious few plays. Bradwell, a Toronto native, wound up returning to McMaster but appeared in just a handful of games for the Marauders.

"I went from the high of getting drafted to the low of not being able to play," said Bradwell, who earned a degree in civil engineering. "It's a little different now because I am healthy and I have confidence in my body and I'm confident I can (earn a spot)."


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