Boyd giving the runaround

Argos running back Cory Boyd, who ran for 1,359 yards last season, second best in the CFL, works...

Argos running back Cory Boyd, who ran for 1,359 yards last season, second best in the CFL, works out at practice. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:43 AM ET

TORONTO - Cory Boyd has proven he can run through a wall.

Now, the Argonauts running back wants to demonstrate he can go around it.

The Argos’ most effective offensive weapon in 2010 would have won the Canadian Football League rushing title had injuries not stopped him from playing in three games.

Boyd, in his first season in the CFL, consistently rammed through opposing defences, often dragging defenders for an extra yard or three. The 25-year-old also was good at spinning off tackles and gaining a few more yards.

But Boyd is trying to add another element to his attack.

“I’m learning how to change up my game a bit, be more smart about it,” Boyd said at training camp in Mississauga on Monday. “I don’t always have to run over everybody.

“I am trying to be patient. Last year it was more of trying to make a statement and strike fear in people. I felt like I had to go 100 miles an hour every single time just to prove a point.”

Boyd didn’t have much of a problem proving a point through the regular season. In a TSN poll of CFL players, Boyd was voted the league’s toughest player.

In six games he rushed for more than 100 yards, and when the season concluded, he had 1,359 yards, second in the league to the 1,396 run up by Fred Reid of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Had concussion problems, and later, an ankle injury, not taken Boyd out of the lineup, there’s every reason to believe he would have cleared 1,500 yards. Still, Boyd had the most yards by an Argo since 2001, when Michael Jenkins ran for 1,484.

As much as Boyd hopes to add another wrinkle to the way he moves downfield, Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker doesn’t want him to get too fancy.

Importantly, Boyd, like many of his teammates, lost some excess weight during the winter (Barker was pointed during his exit meetings with players last November and more than a handful were given a clear message that reporting to training camp in top shape was paramount).

Boyd spent much of the winter months in Toronto, working out when he was not visiting schools and meeting with kids.

“I don’t want him to change who he is, but he has come in 10 pounds lighter and he is quicker,” Barker said. “Now, he can make a move on a guy and change directions, like maybe he couldn’t last year.

“There is a fine line between that and tippy-toeing. The danger is if he waits for things to develop, you are going to get crushed. And if you stay behind it, you are running into piles. It’s finding that perfect mesh that makes a great running back.”

The weight loss, which Boyd put closer to 20 pounds to leave him in the vicinity of 218, already has given the New Jersey native a new outlook just a couple of days into camp.

“I feel more comfortable with my body,” Boyd said. “I’m trusting myself and learning how to have that quick change of pace. I feel loose, like I did back in college (at South Carolina).”

The question remains whether Boyd can repeat, if not improve upon, his 2010 numbers. He will catch the ball too, and had 363 yards on 38 receptions last year.

“Last year, I did not surprise myself,” Boyd said. “I knew with my abilities, if I got the chance, I was going to go out and do some good things. I just didn’t know it was going to be to that extent.

“I would rather get the ring than the rushing title. Getting (eliminated by Montreal in the East final) did not feel good. I have a bitter taste in my mouth.”


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