Argos struttin’ their stuff

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:32 PM ET

For Willie Pile, watching Byron Parker snare a pass for an interception last week and return it for a touchdown was evidence enough.

The Argonauts’ swagger, on an extended vacation the past two years, was back, especially on defence.

“To have him do that, he says this group is back to making plays, getting tackles, the defensive line is humming,” Pile said.

“The swagger is definitely there.”

But the renewed sense of confidence was instilled long before Parker picked off B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay for the winning major.

Players to a man will tell you it comes not only from winning, but from head coach Jim Barker, whose passion for the game and knowledge of it have been front and centre since training camp opened early in June.

“It comes from up top,” Pile said. “When you have a head coach who is breathing that into us every day, on the road, at home and in practice, the group is going to feed into it.

“You can see it building throughout the team.”

And if the offence has to do some catching up to the defence and special teams in terms of finding its mojo, so far, it has not been a detriment.

“It’s getting there,” offensive guard Taylor Robertson said. “Last year, we had no swagger at all. Now we’re running the ball and winning games. We believe in what we are doing.

“It gives us confidence to go out there and know that eventually you are going to take over.”

Barker put together a fairly young group, or inexperienced team as far as games in the CFL went, during the off-season. But while that indicated it could take a while for the Argos to learn how to win, it also meant that many new players didn’t have the sour taste that comes with losing more often than not.

“Probably what gets us to this point is cockiness,” Barker said. “I never went into this thinking we weren’t going to be 4-0 or 5-0. It’s the way I am. If you had told me we would have started 3-1, I would have wondered why it was that we lost a game.”

While confidence in one’s self certainly trumps none at all, Barker knows the Argos haven’t hit any true bumps yet. The season-opening loss aside, the Boatmen likely won’t have a true sense of themselves unless they lose a couple of games in a row.

“You have to go through some adversity and at some point, we will,” Barker said. “We lost early and that was good for us. You find out about people truly when things are not so good. When that happens, we will deal with it. Our players are just refusing to get to that point.”


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