Toronto Argonauts defence adjusting to unorthodox situation

Dane Evans #9 of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is sacked by Eli Harold #97 and Travis Feeney #30 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
Dane Evans #9 of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is sacked by Eli Harold #97 and Travis Feeney #30 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

It was a situation the Toronto Argonauts didn’t anticipate as the team turns to Rich Stubler to lead the defence as they are down two defensive coaches.

Ryan Dinwiddie is about to face one of his toughest challenges as a rookie head coach but he and the Toronto Argonauts are fortunate to have a well-rounded veteran in Rich Stubler to lean on.

On Monday, defensive co-ordinator Glen Young and defensive backs coach Josh Bell are no longer a part of the Argonauts coaching staff for personal reasons. It was then reported by 3DownNation that former CFL coach Chris Jones resigned from his position at South Pittsburg High School for a professional job which many believed was with the Argos.

The team hasn’t confirmed that possibility but did say that Jones was on a list of coaches that the team is considering to bring in with Young not around. For now, Toronto will be asking Stubler to lead the defence against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“A little more extra time for Stubs, it’s just him and I, you know, two guys doing the work of four,” Dinwiddie said after practice Tuesday. “Stubs a veteran, he knows what he’s doing so i appreciate him doing whatever it takes to make sure we’re going to be successful on the field. He’s sacrificed a lot and I appreciate it.”

One of the player being counted on to help Stubler is Charleston Hughes who has experience playing in his system back in Calgary. The veteran pass rusher missed the last game against Hamilton and is hoping to be good enough to suit up against his former team on Friday.

“It’s a rough situation, especially for him having to take over someone else’s operation and what they started so far. I’m really just trying to help him make the transition as smooth as possible, bring the guys along, to see his mindset compared to the other defensive coordinator,” Hughes explained. “That’s the easiest way to put it, but it is good to have him back on the field here and calling plays and, and I kind of already got a sense of how to play for him. So now I just need to implement that into the other guys.”

Hughes says that it helps to know that he and Henoc Muamba have experience in Stubler’s system as it will help with communication on the field and making sure players are in the right places.

Eli Harold enjoying introduction to CFL football and opportunity with Toronto Argonauts

While Harold is a rookie to the CFL game, he brings a lot of experience to the Argos from his time in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. Getting more playing time with Hughes sidelined, he made the most of it recording two sacks against the TIger-Cats.

He admits the transition was difficult at first because he got COVID and missed  the start of training camp. It was also an adjustment getting used to the pace of CFL play with only three downs, a wider field, the waggle and of course, being one yard off the ball.

“The biggest thing was the yard off the ball, I was lining offside literally every play and coach was telling me every day ‘Eli you got to back up.,” he explained. “It’s such a big difference from the American style of football and I believe that it gives the offensive line an advantage because they’re not having to deal with a guy being right in their face.”

Harold also appreciates that CFL players get more time to be with their family as they don’t have to be at the practice facility for long days like in the NFL which also helps give the body time to recover.

He also praised Hughes for his pass-rushing ability and believes he should be in the conversation of some of the top defensive lineman on both sides of the border.

“He’s in the same conversation as the Von Miller’s. He’s in the same conversation as the Demarcus Wares. I don’t care what league you’re in, you’re planning is professionals. For a guy to have over 100 sacks that’s ridiculous. He’s on Mount Rushmore and I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to not only call him a teammate, but a mentor.”

Next. Argos: 3 takeaways from narrow victory over Tiger-Cats. dark

What are your thoughts on the Argos defence having to go with a new coordinator against the Roughriders? Let us know in the comments below.