More guts and gusto

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

Resiliency was in short supply -- scratch that, it didn't exist -- as the Toronto Argonauts bumbled through a hellish Canadian Football League season in 2008.

On Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, head coach Bart Andrus and those who bothered to stick around for the second half of a 46-36 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders watched a team that didn't crumple and quit.

Penalties and turnovers helped the Roughriders score 30 points in the second quarter, but the Argos held the visitors to just nine points in the final 30 minutes while scoring 23.

"They played hard, with purpose, and they played convinced they could win the game (after the half)," Andrus said yesterday at the Argos' training facility in Mississauga.

"That speaks highly of the character of some of these guys that we have.

"I think we have a mentally tough football team that can put some things behind them and move on and do it in a short time."

But it remains to be seen whether that mental toughness will carry over from one game to the next.

The Argos wouldn't have had to be resilient had they used their brains in the second quarter.

The Argos, who return to the field for practice tomorrow, are in Calgary Friday night to face the defending Grey Cup champion Stampeders.

No one figured the Stamps would start with a pair of losses, but they're 0-2 after falling to the Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

If nothing else, the Argos have thrown a wrinkle into the Stampeders' preparation for the game at McMahon Stadium.

On five occasions against Saskatchewan, Andrus called for the wildcat formation, when the ball is snapped to the running back.

The ploy mostly worked, as Jamal Robertson managed to gain the majority of his 51 first-half yards when he took the ball directly from centre Dominic Picard.

There's nothing wrong with keeping the opposition on its toes and Andrus said he will continue to use the formation.

"Practice time is so valued in this league, so it creates something that (the opponent) has to have an answer for," Andrus said of the wildcat, which was introduced as a CFL rule change for this season. "It puts the running back into the line of scrimmage faster and spreads the defence out."

Robertson loved running the wildcat.

"Definitely," Robertson said.

"Makes them think a little bit more. I get the ball faster and you confuse the defence because now they are wondering what you are going to do next."

EXTRA POINTS

The Argonauts got out of the game against the Roughriders relatively healthy, though defensive tackle Adriano Belli was wearing a protective walking boot on his left leg after it was stepped on by a Roughriders player.

Belli appears to be questionable for Friday's matchup at McMahon Stadium.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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