Durie hip to playing

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:14 PM ET

TORONTO - Had the stakes not been so high and the magnitude of the moment not been so great, there’s a good chance Andre Durie would be sitting and not lining up at slotback Saturday night.

But with no room for error and time quickly passing the Argos by, Durie is going to persevere through a tight hip flexor he suffered during last week’s wild win over Winnipeg.

After Saturday night’s slugfest with the Ticats, the Argos won’t play until Thanksgiving Monday in Montreal, a break head coach Jim Barker feels will give Durie time to heal.

“The gravity of this game (versus Hamilton) is important and Andre is a warrior,” Barker said of the York U product.

Durie is a guy opposing defences must account for in their game planning, one of the few bona fide playmakers who line up on offence for the Argos.

While Barker acknowledged Durie’s availability, he wasn’t so sure on the status of left guard Cedric Gagne-Marcoux, who suffered what many believe was a concussion two weeks ago in Regina and then got plastered on a blind-side block last week following a Steven Jyles interception that resulted in a Blue Bombers penalty.

Barker said Gagne-Marcoux will consult with team doctors in the hours prior to kickoff when a decision is likely to be made.

LOOK OUT FOR COLLINS

The Argos will get their first look at safety Milt Collins lining up in Hamilton’s defensive secondary.

If first looks are any indication, Collins was a ball hawk during practice in his first week in the Hammer, showcasing skills Argos head coach Jim Barker first saw as a member of Calgary’s management.

At the time, Barker’s staff worked out Collins, an athlete who had no true position on the gridiron, even though Collins played receiver in high school and college.

“I know him well from Calgary,’’ Barker said of Collins. “He gives them a safety with tremendous, tremendous range.

“And he’s very physical. He’ll change the way they’ll play defence, I believe.”

When Collins, who started at safety for the Stamps in the 2008 Grey Cup, became a victim of the ratio, he was traded to Hamilton, which has been searching for a safety to help anchor a pass defence that ranks last in the CFL.

Corey Chamblin, Hamilton’s defensive co-ordinator, was Collins’ positional coach in Calgary.

The familiarity with Chamblin made the move to Steeltown smoother for Collins.

“I have a good bond with Corey and I like his defence,” said Collins, who can also play corner and strong-side linebacker. “It’s a hungry defence where you run to the ball. If you miss a play, you simply move on to the next play.

“This defence is uptempo. I don’t like slow-paced defences.”

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Argos first-down efficiency

If the Argos don’t find ways to generate positive yards and stay away from second-and-long scenarios, this could be a rather long night. The Ticats plan to bring the heat and the proverbial kitchen will be thrown in obvious passing situations. Cory Boyd must be featured and he simply must be able to establish a ground game.

2. Ball security

Steven Jyles has thrown five interceptions and accounted for six turnovers in his three starts. It goes without saying that Jyles has to be more prudent and must anticipate better when releasing the football. Anticipation and accuracy are two traits good quarterbacks must have. Jyles’ counterpart, Kevin Glenn, discovered it against Calgary last week and when Glenn is hot, Ticats are tough to beat.

3. Halloween comes early

Having watched the Ticats resort to trickery, you just know the Argos have something up their sleeve. By last year’s standards, the Argos have been overly conservative, but this is a must-win proposition and all avenues must be explored.

4. Owens vs. Thigpen

Neither will go toe-to-toe, but each looms as game breakers. Thigpen returned a missed field goal for a TD last week, a 118-yard run that moved Thigpen into second place behind Owens for the league lead in combined yards.

5. Speed bumps

With so much fast players lining up for the Ticats, it’ll be interesting to see how the Argos adjust to Hamilton’s new wrinkle. The obvious key to avoid having a linebacker matched up in space in man to man coverage. Toronto must be physical in its tackling.


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