Argos feeling special

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

TORONTO -- Jim Barker suggested on Thursday that a football-style chess match will unfold at the Rogers Centre on Friday night, as the Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats tactically try to counter each other's every move.

Leave it to Arland Bruce III to attempt to put Barker's thoughts in perspective.

"I'm a chess player myself, and it does not matter if my queen is taken, I can still checkmate my opponent," said Bruce, a former Argo. "I'm looking forward to the challenge."

No matter, this will be the third and final time the Argos and Ticats meet during the 2010 regular season. The Argos have beaten everyone else in the league, while the Ticats haven't beaten any team in the CFL's top tier -- meaning Montreal, Saskatchewan and Calgary. One bonus for the Ticats is that even if they lose on Friday night, they hold the tiebreaker in their season series with the Argos, based on their two victories against the Boatmen.

It's a small luxury the Argos don't have.

Much of the talk involving the Argos during the past week has been the play of their special teams, which faked a punt and a safety touch during a win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week.

Not only does Barker, the Argos' head coach, have every bit of confidence in his players to green-light each play, but one of his goals -- to throw the opposition off--is working.

The Argos' special teams quirks aren't as important as, for example, the rushing of Cory Boyd, but they have become a solid ingredient of what has made the team successful.

"Part of the preparation process is we looked at what they did and how we would defend it," Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said. "But you don't expect them to do the same thing again, so now we have to anticipate a little bit. It's a matter of being in the right place and disciplined on the field."

The Argos won't try anything funny on special teams if the opportunity is not there, and Barker acknowledged that the fake safety touch by Jamie Boreham, which resembled to a small extent the rare Statue of Liberty play, won't be happening again any time soon.

"You won't see it for 20 years because every team will be watching for it," Barker said. "It ended up being instrumental in our win."

As for chess, we'll leave the identity of Bruce's queen to himself. Probably best for everyone involved.

"We want to be a team that can dictate on offence what we do," Barker said. "They're going to try to take away our running game. To do it, how much are they willing to give up in their passing game? And how much can we take advantage of that? It's a great chess match game for a true football fan."


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