Shannon Boatman is going through a crash course, and no one is hoping he gets a passing grade more than Cleo Lemon.
Actually Lemon says he has complete faith in whoever head coach Jim Barker puts at left tackle protecting his blind side. He didn’t complain when rookie Joe Eppele was put there last week and he’s not about to complain now that the switch has been made to Boatman.
It’s a role normally entrusted to veteran tackle Rob Murphy, but with Murphy sitting out his second consecutive game due to injury, and the Argos opting to release veteran Calvin Armstrong yesterday, the job is Boatman’s for the time being.
“We just felt Shannon is the best option right now,” Barker said yesterday following practice. “Joe did a good job and he’s going to be a real good player. It was a great experience for him and he’ll grow from that.”
Boatman though will be playing out of position and has been leaning heavily on Murphy the past couple of days to speed up his learning curve.
“I’m more comfortable at right than left but this week Murph has been working out with me at left and working on my sets,” Boatman said. “It’s night and day from left to right.”
In reality the move is no more than seven or eight feet in actual distance, but in terms of technique it is a complete 180.
“It’s still the same job,” Boatman said. “You’re still protecting, but when you’re so used to something like writing with your right hand and trying to switch to the left, it takes time. It’s just different.”
Asked if he had moved into Murphy’s basement for the week to give himself as much time as possible to get used to the change, Boatman admitted it might have been a good idea, but it’s not as if it’s a completely foreign spot to him.
Boatman played left tackle in a couple of pre-season games this season.
Barker counts himself fortunate to have a player as versatile as Boatmen willing to step in at a moment’s notice.
“His job is to fill in when we need him,” Barker said. “We used him at right last week and this week we have to move him back over to left. He has been such a good player in terms of being able to step in and do that. When you have a guy like that who is at the beck and call, it just makes you that much stronger.”
Boatmen was able to make the move this week with the return of Chris Van Zeyl to his spot at right tackle. Van Zeyl missed the past two games with Boatman filling in for him.