November 10, 2012
Argos' Keeping likes what he sees
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
Jeff Keeping is no stranger to playoff football, but it is strange to see his evolution in Argoland.
In 2006, when the Argos played host to Winnipeg in the Eastern semifinal, Keeping lined up as one of Toronto's starting defensive linemen.
In Sunday's Eastern semi versus visiting Edmonton, Keeping will line up as Toronto's starting centre.
The 2006 Argos advanced to play the Als in the East final, only to lose the game.
It remains to be seen what kind of a run this year's team will forge, but Keeping likes what he has seen all week in practice and the vibe around the club.
"The team is riding a high," the affable Keeping said on the eve of Sunday's kickoff. "We're excited and there's a buzz around here. We think there's going to be a lot of people here and we want to give our fans reasons to cheer us."
Despite their many flaws during the regular season, the Argos have arrived at this point feeling as good about themselves without oozing anything remotely close to cockiness or over-confidence.
So much in football begins on the line of scrimmage, an area Edmonton dominated in sweeping the season series. The Esks recorded seven sacks over the two games.
"We feel we're a much more cohesive group," said Keeping. "The intricacies of line play, communication, the intangibles, they only get developed from playing. We feel we're in a different place. We're aware of the challenge Edmonton brings, but we're better prepared."
No player is better prepared than quarterback Ricky Ray.
"He's ice cold," Keeping said of Ray. "I don't think anyone can get a rise (out of him) or just change his demeanor. You look at him during this week and you look at our entire team and you can see how everyone has their eye on the prize and that's the Grey Cup.
"And we have to go through Edmonton to get there."