Argonauts offensive line coach Steve McAdoo is new to Toronto, but he’s not new to head coach Jim Barker or new to the CFL.
And while the offensive line he inherits is primarily the same personnel that struggled last year under Bart Andrus and his choice of offensive line coach, Ron Heller, McAdoo is already being lauded for the job he is doing with this same core.
Barker, who knew McAdoo from his four seasons in Montreal between 2003 and 2006, brings the conversation back to McAdoo every time he is asked about his offensive line these days.
“I talk about him because people have asked me why the offensive line looks so much better. Well it’s the same players for the most part and (he’s) the thing that is different,” Barker said.
Barker lured McAdoo back to football after a three-year absence from the game. In four years in Montreal, McAdoo helped the Alouettes to three Grey Cup appearances. McAdoo knew he wasn’t finished with football but felt he had to step away from the game for a more important calling.
A non-profit organization called Backfield in Motion in Nashville was near and dear to McAdoo and wanting to give back, he left the CFL to take a position in the organization along with his wife.
“It was a tough decision but I have a really strong belief system and when I think the good Lord tells me to do something, I follow it,” McAdoo said.
“I searched my soul and I said football has been good to me and if I had to walk away right now I’ve had nothing but great things in football.”
McAdoo did walk away and despite plenty of opportunities to get back in the game over a three-year period, he stayed away until Barker came calling.
“The itch never left me,” is how McAdoo puts it.
“I had opportunities to come back but I turned those down and didn’t come back and when Jim called me it just seemed like the stars had lined up. It was the perfect time to come back. (Backfield in Motion) was on the right footing when I left so hopefully they continue to do well.”
As for the Argos offensive line, McAdoo believes it was just a case of someone like him, with a strong personality, coming in and getting the already assembled talent to buy into a single goal.
“Probably the biggest thing is the belief system,” McAdoo said. “When they buy into one certain system, you really don’t have another choice. When we come in ... we have one thing in mind and that’s Grey Cup.
“I don’t give them any other options.
“When you only have one option to look for on the practice board, that’s all you know. These guys have bought into it. It’s not me. It’s just me coming in and believing in it just as much as they should and they see that. They see I care so they buy into it.”
Barker sees it clearly.
“He’s a bit of a hard ass and O-linemen need that,” he said. “I think they are taking to his coaching style very well.”