Argos give doc big thumbs up

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 PM ET

TORONTO - Possibly the harshest critics imaginable gave the first part of the four-part series The Extra Yard: Inside the 2011 Argos a resounding thumbs up the day after it aired.

The subjects of the documentary — the Argos themselves — had nothing but positives to say about the Canadian equivalent of the NFL’s Hard Knocks series.

“I thought it was well done,” head coach and GM Jim Barker said. “It was hard to watch. Seeing the emotions of what goes on but it was interesting. I thought they did a nice job of portraying what these guys go through.”

The TSN commissioned, Aquiline Productions produced doc was given almost unfettered access to training camp for the first part of the series and came away with interesting story lines and behind the scenes footage rarely seen by the public.

Barker admitted he thought more than once about allowing cameras in to film him cutting players at the end of training camp, but said it came down to trusting the people doing it.

“It was very difficult to watch because it just takes me back there to the worst day of my year,” Barker said. “Cutting Miguel Robede and James Robinson — those guys bled for me. It’s not something you want to do and reliving that was not fun.”

But Barker felt allowing the public to see the preparation and hard work that goes into a CFL season was worth the heartache. He really only made one demand of the producers.

“I didn’t want anything in it that would hurt any one player and I think they were conscious of that,” Barker said. “I just trusted them.”

Barker was asked if anything he saw in the documentary made him wince.

“No, I only had a few F-bombs so I was good,” he said. “I thought everything else was pretty kosher.”

Rookie Djems Kouame’s story was also a big part of Episode 1 and like Barker he was very happy with the finished product.

“It was pretty cool,” Kouame said. “My first time on TV. They did a great job.”

Kouame, one of the few players highlighted in the first series who is still in camp said the players had a little fun at his expense the morning after the documentary aired. “It’s all love,” Kouame said. “I appreciate it.”

Episode 2 of the series airs Thurs. Aug 4, on TSN immediately following the Argos’ game with Montreal.

That episode has a Road Warriors theme as viewers will get a taste of what a team goes through on the road. The Argos are perfect fodder for this one as four of the first five games are away from the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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