Steinauer thrust in charge of Argo D

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:54 PM ET

TORONTO - Joe Moss, Don Sutherin, Gary Etcheverry and Rich Stubler are some of the coaches Orlondo Steinauer leaned on in understanding the many nuances of playing defence in the CFL.

What kind of defensive co-ordinator Steinauer will become, what kind of presence he'll have, it's hard to tell given Steinauer has yet to huddle with his players in a practice setting.

There weren't many players who were as cerebral at Steinauer and not many are capable of overseeing a defence in this his only second year as a CFL coach.

But he's ready and whatever Steinauer has up his sleeve, expect the Argos to play with an edge and be a lot more aggressive in attacking opposing quarterbacks.

Steinauer replaced Chip Garber as defensive co-ordinator on Friday after the Argos lost their fifth game in a row, this time to the Montreal Alouettes.

Like Mike O'Shea, Steinauer is a leader, a guy who was always in the right place to make a play, always aware of his surroundings.

And like O'Shea, Steinauer wasn't exactly the most quotable when it came to colourful remarks.

"I envisioned this day coming,'' said Steinauer. "But not under these circumstances.

"It's a bitter-sweet day in that I'm excited at the opportunity, but definitely thought it would come in a different manner."

When asked about his mandate, Steinauer never hesitated.

"Lead,'' he said. "That's what a co-ordinator's job is."

Whether he was a player or as a coach, Steinauer knows how things can quickly change, how events can unfold without any warning.

Realistically, the Argos defence, which has looked very vulnerable in recent weeks, won't change overnight.

Given his athletic talents and versatility, it would be wise of Steinauer to use Ricky Foley in more creative ways.

Depending on injuries to the team's current stable of linebackers, a guy such as safety Willie Pile can see his role expanded.

What Steinauer plans to do is put guys in position to make plays and go from there when it comes to schemes.

"I'm ready to put my stamp on it, absolutely," said Steinauer. "The problems and the difficulties we've had as a defence is a collective thing. It's not one thing in particular.

"I don't have a specific A-B-C, 1,2,3, cookie-cutter mould of how it's going to be. It's going to be week to week and over time you'll see what my stamp is.

"Everything falls on my shoulder now and that's part of the deal in accepting this job. My job is to ultimately lead these men to get the most out of themselves and bigger than that, more than they've given so far."

Steinauer arrived at the team's Mississauga-based facility on Friday prepared to do his normal job as an assistant coach.

"It was a regular morning until I got called into coach Barker's office. He explained the circumstances we were under and asked me if I was okay with that moving forward.

"I believe when you work hard, you get rewarded. It's just unfortunate because Chip's a great friend."

O'SHEA LENDS EXPERIENCE

While Mike O'Shea's job description won't be changing anytime soon, he's expected to have input on how the Argos play defence.

O'Shea and Orlondo Steinauer are former teammates and Grey Cup champions, friends who have each been identified by Jim Barker as head coaches in waiting.

When he decided to go in a new direction by replacing Chip Garber with Steinauer as defensive co-ordinator, Barker revealed O'Shea had no say in the team's game planning.

He will now by lending his experience, without compromising his primary duty as the team's special teams co-ordinator.

Defensive line coach George Dyer and linebackers coach Greg Quick are likely to have more say, but it's ultimately up to Steinauer to devise a game plan.

When he assembled his staff last year, Barker gave some thought on having Steinauer serve as the team's defensive co-ordinator, but thought it would be unfair to place the rookie CFL assistant into that high-pressure, high-profiled position.

Only time will tell if Steinauer is the right choice, but Barker is fully aware his job is on the line if the Argos don't start winning.

"It's the nature of this business and the time will come when it'll be me,'' Barker said of the tenuous position of any coach in a losing situation.

"Right now, it was my call. I felt it was the move we needed to make."

MESSAGE CLEAR

The message was as clear as the one-sided outcome, the words coming from the heart and addressing the heart of the matter.

Jim Barker's speeches and ability to motivate were some of the intangibles he provided when the Argos would come within one game of playing for the Grey Cup last season.

At 1-5, the Argos are closer to getting torn up than lifting a championship trophy, but his message in the aftermath of Thursday's 36-23 loss to the Als should give his players plenty to ponder.

"We're not going to be this kind of football team,'' Barker revealed when asked about his post-game address. "We're a year and a half into a rebuild and I hope they're the right guys.

"Whatever I said, it came from my heart. I'm going to do what I have to do to get this organization to the top of the CFL."

When he addressed his players and his staff in the wake of Chip Garber's dismissal, Barker's message was just as blunt.

"Anytime a good man loses his job, you have to look inward. It's what I told the players (Friday) and all the coaches.

"Look inward first and ask: 'What can I do?'"


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