July 13, 2012
Ticats don't fool McCune
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Robert McCune will get an up-close look at Henry Burris, a view that represents a first for the first-year Argos linebacker.
During his brief run in three-down football, McCune has known Burris as a teammate, building a bond in Calgary and going up against Smilin’ Hank in a practice setting.
On Saturday, the stage is different and the stakes higher as McCune goes head-to-head against Burris and Hamilton’s offence.
“We were real good friends,’’ said McCune of his relationship with Burris. “We worked out together. He’s a great quarterback, has been around this league and he knows how to make plays.
“He’s one of those guys who has a great work ethic and we’re expecting him to make plays. But we’re also looking at stopping him.”
The Ticats, who managed just a field goal in the second half of an opening-week loss to Saskatchewan, did show an ability for the big play in last week’s three-point defeat in Vancouver.
While Burris did get pulled late in the first half, the Ticats offence was virtually unstoppable in the final 30 minutes, especially in the final quarter.
When McCune looks at Hamilton’s 0-2 record, he sees a dangerous team. He knows all too well what Andy Fantuz is capable of when he and the slotback played in Regina. And he sees tailback Chevon Walker on film and marvels at the rookie’s burst.
“You can’t count them out,’’ McCune said. “That’s a good football team. They’ve just come up short.
“If you look at their games, they’re improving and I’m sure they’re pretty hungry. For us, we have to bring our ‘A’ game and we can’t look at them as an 0-2 team.”
Balance is the objective of any offence, whether it’s being able to run and throw the football or spread it to as many receivers as possible.
While much was made of Jason Barnes’ free-agent acquisition, he hasn’t quite lived up to the billing, with six catches for 100 yards.
But Ricky Ray isn’t worried, believing the day will soon arrive when Barnes — with whom he played in Edmonton before his off-season trade to T.O. — has a breakout performance.
And besides, the Argos offence does not feature a go-to receiver.
“What it’s designed to do is allow guys to make plays,’’ said Ray. “And it’s just not one guy. It’s going to help us in the long run because defences can’t focus in on one guy. They have to worry about everyone.”
If Cory Boyd is able to rush 20 times and eclipse the 100-yard barrier, numbers he reached last week, the Argos become even more balanced. The Double Blue is 10-2 when Boyd rushes for more than 100 yards.
In last week’s win over Calgary, Ray threw for more than 400 yards as Andre Durie and rookie wideout Dontrelle Inman each posted 100-yard receiving games.