Jordan Younger is a two-time CFL all-star at cornerback in his six years in the CFL.
Willie Pile has missed a total of two games in three seasons since coming to the CFL. All three seasons he made no fewer than 83 tackles as a starting linebacker for the Double Blue.
Both are what you would consider core members of the Argonauts starting defence.
But this season is going to be different for both players.
Pile has made the move from the WILL linebacker position he started all 18 games for the Argos last year to safety.
Younger moves from the corner to take over at SAM linebacker.
The moves have meant a whole lot more film study for both players, but neither player was the least bit reluctant to make the move when it was presented to them by head coach Jim Barker.
In fact, Younger is even more psyched than usual.
Barker said it all came from a discussion between himself, defensive co-ordinator Chip Garber and defensive backs coach Orlondo Steinauer, after watching tons of game tape.
“We looked at our players and what their skill set was and we just felt that Jordan was a great match because he has played both corner and half — and you have to have that kind of experience.
“Jordan is a physical player and good around the line of scrimmage. He gives us a lot of flexibility. He can play all the spots. He has done outstanding there. He has taken to the position.
“Things happen a little faster there than they do at corner or halfback, but I just think it’s the right spot for him at this stage in his career.”
And moving Pile back to safety allows him to be the quarterback on defence, a role befitting of his leadership skills.
“For me, it’s all about trusting the guys around me to be in the right spot, putting them in the right position and then choosing where I can go and make plays,” Pile said.
“Everybody is playing as if they are 1/12th of the defence. That’s what we talked about earlier today and it’s really just doing your part and not being afraid to make plays,” Pile said.
Pile and Younger have shared many moments through training camp and into this week poring over video to prepare themselves for their new assignments.
Pile said he did plenty of this in past years when he was a linebacker, the only difference now being he’s joined by the likes of Younger and many of the other members of the Argonauts secondary.
“Now you have guys saying, ‘Hey, let’s watch film in the meeting room after practice. Let’s grab something to eat and go watch some extra film,” Pile said.
“Guys are really taking it to heart about being prepared and taking care of their individual assignments. When we do that, we put a good product on the field.”
Their first call when they heard they were being asked to switch positions was to each other.
And between them the two decided the best way to approach the move was to — “Go out and get ready for it.”
“Do what you have been coached to do,” was how Pile put it. “Play to your strengths and the defence will put us in good position to make plays so just go out and do it.”
Asked together if there was even a second of hesitation when the new assignments came down, the two replied in unison, “Not at all.”
“We’re just two football players here ready to do what they have to do,” Pile says.
“Right,” responds Younger.
“Ultimately I played corner my whole life so I was pretty excited about this to be honest.
“You know, they put me right in the mix. I’m not a fringe player anymore. I’m right in the middle of all of it.”
Both got a taste of their new positions in a pair of exhibition games — but it starts for real Thursday night in Calgary against the Stampeders (10 p.m. EST, TSN).