The Toronto Argonauts returned to practice at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus on Friday following their come-from-behind 29—24 pre-season victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week.
The game was Ricky Ray’s first as an Argonaut, and the quarterback completed five of eight passes for 72 yards. Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich praised the Argos for their effort in the victory, but was critical of his team’s execution.
“The attention to detail was not very good on both sides of the ball — offensively and defensively,” said Milanovich. “There are some mistakes we need to work on. Those are the things that sometimes, when you go from the practice field [and] then it matters on game day, you forget your coaching. And a little bit of that happened.”
“You expect some of it,” said Milanovich. “I thought it was too much. We’re going to set the bar high. We expect them to be perfect. And we need them to expect that of themselves. There were too many mistakes that didn’t need to be made.”
Friday’s practice was the first in four days, so the Argonauts looked to work at high intensity throughout the two sessions. The day of practice focused on the Argonauts ground attack and special teams. The team appeared to respond well to Milanovich’s demand for an increased tempo, with the running backs in particular having a strong showing throughout the practice.
The Argonauts have now turned their focus to preparing for their only home pre-season game, against the Montreal Alouettes. Tuesday’s game will be a special “field trip” game for students in the GTA; 30,000 students are expected to attend the game, which kicks off at noon.
Milanovich emphasised that the Argos’ preparation for the Alouettes will not change despite the mistakes against Hamilton.
“We’re going to do what we do, and see if guys can execute…the game that matters is that first one in Edmonton.”
With the Argonauts’ training camp at the U of T Mississauga campus winding down and the season opener against the Edmonton Eskimos less than two weeks away, the window for some players to make enough of an impression to be kept on the roster is closing. At the moment, however, it seems that there are still plenty of roster decisions left for the Argonauts’ coaching staff.
“It’s still wide open. We’ve still got two days of training camp left before that second preseason game,” said Milanovich. “That’s what I just told them right now, ‘Don’t waste a minute.’
“There are still jobs that are open to be taken. They need to go out and take them.”