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February 12, 2000

Huard hounds Argos' D


John Huard has finally gone to the Argos movies -- and still doesn't think much of the team's defence.

The Argos' controversial rookie head coach said he has watched films of the team's defence from last season and stands by his original comments it is just as overrated as he believed after he looked at statistics.

"I knew they weren't as good (as their league-leading ranking) and the films substantiate that," Huard said. Huard confused and angered some players with his remarks last week that the defence was overrated, using the negative turnover ratio to prove his point.

All-star defensive tackle Demetrious Maxie verbally attacked Huard, wondering how the coach could make the remarks without seeing game film. NOT NO. 1

Apprised this week of Maxie's comments, Huard said: "He has an inflated opinion of what he thinks they have accomplished. They are not the No. 1 defence in the league. Statistics-wise yes, but not in terms of winning." While Maxie felt the defence had to work overtime because of the struggling offence, Huard said: "I don't equate excellence with hard work."

Huard said the only part of the defence that played soundly was the backfield. But he has opted not to retain defensive-backfield coach Kim Dameron, whom Huard dismissed via phone from his home in Maine earlier in the week.

"I told him it is just one of those things," Huard said. "I have people that know me and know how I operate. I can go in on Day 1 and be productive. The coach I am going to bring in will take (the defensive backfield) to another level." Dameron understood Huard's decision, but said it was tough waiting so long to be told. "I was in complete limbo not knowing whether I was going to be offered a job and whether I would take it," he said. "There was no communication whatsoever from anybody once he was hired the first day in February, aside from a 45-minute conversation the following day."

In another development, Larry Pasquale, who was in the running for the Argos head coaching job, resigned two days ago as special-teams coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. NO CHANCE Argos managing director J. I. Albrecht, a friend of Pasquale's, called him yesterday and tried to persuade him to join the Toronto coaching staff. But the Argos would not have been able to afford Pasquale simply as an assistant coach and he is considering options in the U.S. The CFL governors placed a ceiling of $425,000 for football administration to limit costs.

While Huard coached the Shreveport Pirates for two weeks in 1994, the CFL didn't have a cap for coaches and managers. "The salary cap is ridiculous," Huard said. "What advantage do you see from a salary cap?"