Bully for Bart

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:59 AM ET

It was a little more than six months ago when Bart Andrus was introduced to the city of Toronto as the new head coach of the Argos.

In this paper, the headline read "Argos roll the dice."

Two regular-season games into his CFL tenure, Andrus' hiring is looking less and less like a gamble.

And while no one is ready to start the parade, Andrus has won over a handful of veteran players who were somewhat dubious of how things would work out.

Count quarterback Kerry Joseph among Andrus' big backers. The Argos starting quarterback says his new coach and his new staff -- Steve Buratto is the only returnee -- just get it.

"They are open," Joseph said. "They don't come in with closed minds. They are learning week in and week out and they are making the proper adjustments."

Best of all from Joseph's perspective is that Andrus, a former quarterback, knows how to keep things loose and interesting. His introduction of the wildcat -- direct snaps to the running back -- to the Argos' offence is just the latest example.

"It's a fun play. It's something different and guys enjoy it," Joseph said. "That's the kind of thing that Bart brings. He brings the kid in you back out. You go out, drop the football and this is the play we are running. Guys like that."

Andre Talbot, the veteran receiver who should be back in uniform tomorrow night in Calgary after sitting out the first two games, says it didn't take Andrus long to win him over.

"It wasn't so much that he got our game as the approach he took towards players, the organization and the league," Talbot said. "He has just shown a lot of respect to the league and the players and that won me over. Also seeing what he is doing offensively for us and the professionalism he exudes ... It's all encompassing."

On the field, Talbot is learning that the "offensive genius" reputation Andrus brought with him to Toronto is one that was earned and the CFL game has merely given him new opportunities to show it.

"He likes to mix it up and keep a defence off balance," Talbot said. "We are using different formations, a lot of motion and he's creative. I think that comes from him being an ex-quarterback. He's really enjoying the fact that our game is wide open and we have some rule differences that can be beneficial (to the offence). He's taking advantage of all of that."

That roll of the dice isn't sounding like such a bad proposition anymore.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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