How Mike Walker ended up with the Argos

From the Toronto Star. It's all about connections.

An Argo-Cat fan

Walker brings nasty back


On paper it's an ugly mismatch that partially explains why the Tiger-Cats have rolled over the Argos twice already this season.

The Tabbies boast the CFL's best rushing attack; the Argos possess the league's worst run defence.

So with the storyline in place for a Labour Day showdown in Steeltown – and with relentless, powerhouse Jesse Lumsden likely in the Hamilton backfield – the Argos have made a move to try to write a different ending. The plot twist is that they've turned to a former Ticat to help them out.

The Argos have hired Mike Walker, a terror on the D-line for Hamilton in the '80s, as a defensive consultant.

Walker will be with Toronto for the rest of the season, coaching the down lineman, trying to recreate them in his own image.

For those who remember the three-time CFL all-star, that means becoming a little nastier and a whole lot more aggressive.

"We're going to work on attacking the line of scrimmage better," said Walker, who spent the last 11 years as the defensive line coach at Washington State University.

"I think the attack mode could be a little bit better. They're already good but they could be 10 times better I think. That's my objective."

The Argos have shown themselves to be very vulnerable to offences running double tight ends.

"We've got to figure out how to stop the run game and the two tight ends, it's a fashion right now so we need to react to the fashion," said head coach Rich Stubler.

Enter Walker. He was swept out of Washington State, his alma mater, in a house cleaning of the coaching staff and had been helping out at the Seattle Seahawks camp. There he ran into ex-teammate Miles Gorrell, Toronto's coordinator of Canadian scouting, and the seed was planted for Walker's return to the CFL. Walker had played for Stubler in Hamilton and was enthusiastic about retiring to the CFL, though his wife – a track coach and teacher in Pullman, Wash. –wasn't keen on him leaving.

"I would love to have him here long term but he's going to have to come to grips with his wife too at some point," joked Stubler.

The players are also glad to have him.

"You need someone to focus on your position, who knows your position," said defensive end Riall Johnson. "He's made practice harder but a lot better – I think it will make a big difference. The techniques he's teaching will be a big help but the biggest thing is just having someone there to remind you to work. I welcome it."