Copeland wants the darn ball

Argos wide receiver Jeremaine Copeland jokes around during practice in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday...

Argos wide receiver Jeremaine Copeland jokes around during practice in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

TORONTO - In Jeremaine Copeland’s mind, the math is fairly simple.

Get him the football more often, and the Argonauts will win more games.

“I think the way we win is make the production come through me just a little bit more,” the veteran slotback said on Tuesday.

“Stats don’t lie. I am not pissed off, I am just a competitor, one who has been competing in this league for going on 11 seasons and my numbers are not up where they need to be.

“It’s not that I still can’t produce, it’s a matter of the opportunities not coming my way the way they were when I was with other teams.

“That’s something I want to change.”

The Argos have won twice in eight games and Copeland is third on the team with 349 yards receiving on 25 catches. If he continues on his pace and does not miss any games, he will finish with 785 yards, well below his goal of 1,000.

What’s more, Copeland has not scored a touchdown in 2011.

He had three in his first season with the Argos after leading the Canadian Football League, when he was with the Calgary Stampeders, with 12 in 2009.

“With the way I have been blessed to score over my career, it definitely has been eating at me,” Copeland told a couple of reporters at the Argos’ practice field at Erindale in Mississauga.

“That’s the one thing that kept me driving through the (bye) week. I know it has to change, and it’s definitely going to change. I really think this game against B.C. (on Friday night) is going to be where it starts.

“Who knows if I cross the goal line or not? But I am keeping it in my head, and I am hoping and praying that I do cross it and cross it more than once. That’s what I am planning to do.”

At 34, Copeland is among the oldest Argos, and it’s safe to say his best days are in the books. But he was signed to a contract extension by the Boatmen in January, and surely, it wasn’t so he could take a back seat on offence.

Copeland golfed during the bye week, but also went to Erindale to catch passes from quarterback Steven Jyles, whose recovery from shoulder surgery nearly is complete.

Though Copeland insinuated he went to the office of head coach and general manager Jim Barker for a heart-to-heart chat, Barker said that was not the case. What’s clear is Copeland met with offensive co-ordinator Jaime Elizondo and other offensive coaches with the purpose of trying to find out how he can be more involved.

“You have to go to the source,” Copeland said. “I don’t want to be No. 1 on every play, but a lot of times if I am not No. 1, I want to be the second option. I want to make sure my number is being called, and I don’t think I am wrong for that.

“They brought me here for a reason, and I just think it is time for me to be used for that.”

Barker doesn’t disagree, but knows it can’t be done just because he and Copeland want it to happen.

“We need to get him the ball more,” Barker said. “He does draw coverage because he is the guy Cleo (Lemon) likes to go to. When he does draw coverage, it gives single coverage to (Brandon) Rideau and Spencer (Watt) and (Andre) Durie. I don’t know if he is double-teamed, but he draws coverages from when linebackers drop because they know where he is.”

For Copeland, the frustration mounted through the first eight games. In the following 10, his only aim is to put a stop to it.

“Whenever a double-team has come to me, it means taking focus off the other four guys out there,” Copeland said. “I always wanted that pressure, but right now people aren’t really having to double me because we are not coming my way that much. Sometimes we do have calls, but it just does not come my way.

“I’m looking forward to a new half of the season and starting like it is the beginning.”


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