Finally, a regular spot for Eppele

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

TORONTO - At least Joe Eppele doesn’t have to play the what-if game in the event one of his offensive line brethren gets hurt.

It’s a mental game of wondering what if a player goes down in a situation in which the Argos need pass protection, or if Eppele will be asked to line up on the edge or the inside.

For the first time this season, the second-year Argo can now focus on lining up as the team’s starting right guard, developing better communication with his line and figuring out a way to control Winnipeg’s vaunted front seven.

“It’s a different mind-set,’’ the 6-foot-7 Eppele, who was chosen second overall by the Argos in last year’s draft, said. “I prefer it going into a game knowing where you’re going to be going.

“The fact that I’m starting now allows me to prepare on one position. Before, you had to focus on all positions.”

Eppele was called upon in the first half of last week’s loss in Regina when veteran guard Taylor Robertson hurt his ankle.

By as early as Thursday, the Argos may announce that Robertson’s season is over, the victim of a broken bone.

“Bitter-sweet,’’ Eppele said of his insertion at the cost of a teammate. “As the role of a backup, you have to be ready when someone goes down. I went in and made the most of it.”

And by all accounts, Eppele acquitted himself well.

When he joined the Argos last season, Eppele, who played primarily at tackle during collegiate days at Washington State, was moved inside four days into rookie camp.

When veteran left tackle Rob Murphy, who will soon undergo knee surgery, couldn’t start against his former team in Vancouver last season, Eppele filled in.

Barring an injury, Eppele will likely be the incumbent at right guard lining up next to centre Dominic Picard and Chris Van Zeyl for the balance of the season.

“I now have some game film to work on, a base from work from that will allow me to get better,’’ Eppele added. “Game speed is much different from practice.

“Every chance I get is an opportunity to improve. I grade fairly well (from last week), but as a competitor, when you watch film you always feel you could have done better.”

Doing better for others has always been part of Eppele’s character.

He recently met a group of children from a home shelter, invited them to an Argos game and was scheduled to take the kids out for a night of bowling on Wednesday.


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