Joseph eyes 'Green Riders'

BILL LANKHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

The Argonauts come into today's home opener having slapped a Band-Aid on an injured psyche.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, meanwhile, have slapped one on their quarterback.

Chances of both holding up are not good.

The Argos, coming off a four-win season, got a nice injection of confidence with a season-opening win in Hamilton last week and they have a quarterback who is once again feeling the love.

"We're having fun again," Kerry Joseph said, after the Argos' final walk-through for today's game. "The coaching staff allows us to go and play the game like kids and just have fun and make plays. It allows you to be loose and play football."

Kudos to rookie coach Bart Andrus. Last year, under Rich Stubler and Don Matthews, only the people who lined up opposite the Argos had fun.

"I knew the organization would correct the things that needed to be corrected. It starts with the head coach," Joseph said.

"It reminds me of the way Kent (Austin) was in 2007 (when Joseph helped lead Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup), the leadership that he brings."

Meantime, Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant could use some of that good feeling. He showed up with his right hand bandaged yesterday. On Tuesday, he hit his hand on a helmet in practice bruising his thumb.

"I have to get my mind-set right because there isn't going to be any miraculous recovery. It's going to be sore and I just have to live with it," Durant said. "Playing with injuries is part of football but for a quarterback trying to throw the ball you couldn't ask for anything worse."

Riders head coach Ken Miller said Durant would play, and that the bandage was only to keep the swelling down.

The Argos, meanwhile, went four-to-the-good on the injury front. Tyler Scott is back at slotback and Arland Bruce will play, despite a case of hemorrhoids. Canadian Steve Schmidt comes in at tight end. Then there is 6-foot-7, 300 pound Kevin Huntley, who moves in at defensive tackle after missing most of pre-season (ankle sprain).

"Thank God the coaches saw enough in me to keep me here," said Huntley , who spent parts of three seasons in the NFL. "I'm anxious to show what I've still got."

Despite that, he is having the rookie yips.

"It's bubbling in my stomach," Huntley said. "I'm not going to be able to sleep. I'm going to be thinking about what I'm going to do. I'm glad it's an afternoon game because I'd be pulling my hair out if I had to wait."

Toronto has had more than a week to wait and prepare for this game. Good thing. Saskatchewan will be a much sterner test than the one they faced in Hamilton.

"A very good defence," Andrus said. "They try to confuse you ... get turnovers and they bring a challenge for us."

One of those challenges will be the continued resurgence of a ground game with Jamal Robertson, who legged out 134 yards against Hamilton.

The return of Schmidt, who known for his blocking skills, will help open holes.

"Their line will set up on one side and then bring someone from the other ... They're fast, explosive,'' Robertson said.

And, speaking of things that blow up. Bruce -- after burying Michael Jackson in the end zone last week -- says he's got a new TD celebration.

Andrus, asked if Bruce had "shared" the routine with him, grinned: "No, but I've shared a few things with him."

And, then, team trainers needed a plumber's wrench to wedge the tongue out of his cheek.

BILL.LANKHOF@SUNMEDIA.CO


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