Barker has a soft spot

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

As coach of the Argos, Jim Barker has to be steely under pressure and not have room for sentiment.

But he admits he has a soft spot when rookie kicker Grant Shaw wants a shot at trying field goals from more than 50 yards out.

"He always looks at you with those puppy dog eyes and wanting to try," Barker said with a grin. "And you want to give him the effort. But there are some great returners in this league and you do that with some trepidation. But given the situation, I want him to know I have confidence in him.

"He's a different kind of guy: He's a football player first, he runs all of our scout teams, he plays defence and whatever else he has to do to help us and that's just odd for a kicker. He's got an incredibly super-strong leg and so far, so good. But 18 games in a season is a long time."

The Argos had two runners-up for the CFL's weekly awards coming off their win against B.C. last week. Running back Cory Boyd's third 100-yard rushing game against the Lions was second to receiver Romby Bryant of Calgary.

Argos linebacker Kevin Eiben was edged by Stampeders' running back Jon Cornish as top Canadian.

Barker summed up part of his team's early gains as a successful chemistry experiment.

"It's not (all about finding) the 50 best players. It's about finding the 50 best players who get along and understand the long-term vision," the Argos coach said. "This is a practice game, unlike baseball and basketball, and to do that you have to love the guys you practise with, or it can be gruelling, day after day."


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