Boyd feeling 'run' down

Cory Boyd grabs a pass at practice on Wendesday as a couple of teammates reach in trying to...

Cory Boyd grabs a pass at practice on Wendesday as a couple of teammates reach in trying to distract him. (Jack Boland, QMI AGENCY)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:40 PM ET

Southern Ontario seems to be the capital of the unhappy running back right now.

Down the QEW in Hamilton, Avon Cobourne can’t get on the field with Chevon Walker turning heads the way he is.

In Toronto, Cory Boyd is on the field as much as he ever was but seeing the rock seldomly as a ball carrier and much more often as a receiver coming out of the backfield.

Granted all of this is through one game.

Both men are downplaying their respective situations with semi-concealed brave faces, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge that both men would prefer the roles they had a year ago.

Whether this amounts to anything more than unhappiness bears watching.

Cobourne told the Hamilton Spectator’s Drew Edwards that he was in fact “surprised” and “upset” that he did not dress in the first game but pledged to continue to work like he will be starting the next game. An 89-yard touchdown run by Walker that included a burst of speed that left onlookers in awe might extend that wait.

Boyd who carried the ball eight times for 48 yards in the opener and caught 10 passes for nine yards isn’t complaining about his role for the time being but he’s not hiding his unhappiness about the lack of carries either.

“I’m not disappointed (in the run game),” Boyd said. “It’s to be expected. It’s a new scheme, new game plan and I got to fit in where I fit in. If getting out the backfield is what coach wants that’s what my team needs me to do, then I’m going to do it.”

While his preference is clearly to beat the other team at the line of scrimmage, Boyd says he will do whatever is asked of him.

“My natural position is running back and that’s what I like, to run the ball,” Boyd said. “But like I said, I have good hands. I am comfortable with how the schemes are going.

“It’s up to the coaches to put me in the position they want me in. We are trying to find our foundation and Ricky (Ray) is our foundation and I have to fit in where I fit in.”

When it was suggested to Boyd that some form of a running game would have to be incorporated if for no other reason than to keep opposing defences from playing solely the pass, Boyd remained noncommittal.

“With how coach is scheming things up, you never know what we have to do,” he said. “The offence is going to click one way or the other. It’s structured that way. It just takes a little more time and extra work but we will get it done.”

Again, to be clear, Boyd did not voice any displeasure about his role but his tone and his body language certainly suggested less than a complete buy-in on his part.

As for Saturday’s loss, Boyd said he fully expects to rectify the nine yards receiving on 10 catches regardless of the fact that every time he touched the ball he had a tackler either on him or with a hand on him.

“Yea, it seemed like I didn’t have a chance,” Boyd said. “I just have to work harder. That’s on me, to make guys miss. Have a little more sense or urgency and I’m only going to get better from here.”

In 2011 Boyd carried the ball 187 times for 1141 yards. Only twice in 14 games did he have fewer than 10 carries a game. Conversely he never had more than three receptions in a game finishing the year with a total of 22 for 118 yards.

Under Milanovich and with Ray at the helm, the split between runs and catches will be much less drastic, but maybe not as pass heavy as Boyd seems to fear.

Milanovich was not happy with the production he did get out of the run game when it was called on Saturday.

“Ricky is going to lead this offence and we expect to be able to run the ball and we need to run it better when we do run it,” Milanovich did before throwing a carrot out there for Boyd and those who would like to see more of a focus on the run game.

“When you run it better with each opportunity, you get more opportunities. That’s where we’re kind of at as far as the run game goes. We need to be more efficient in it and when that happens I think you’ll see more balance.”

Milanovich said the lack of a running game on Sunday wasn’t just about Boyd not getting the job done.

“Part of it was the quarterback, part of it was the receivers, and part of it was up front (the line). It was a total offensive effort at our lack of running game this past game,” he said. “They all need to bring their lunch pails , go to work and get dirty. That’s how you run the football.”


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