Argos coach critical of CFL officiating

Six games into his first CFL season, Toronto Argonauts head coach Bart Andrus has adjusted to the unlimited motion, three downs and importance of the kicking game in Canadian football.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Six games into his first CFL season, Toronto Argonauts head coach Bart Andrus has adjusted to the unlimited motion, three downs and importance of the kicking game in Canadian football.

The officiating, though, is another matter.

On Thursday during a discussion about the penalties the Argos took in last week’s 25-0 loss to Montreal, Andrus was critical of CFL officiating, saying it’s inconsistent.

“When they’re penalties that are controllable that’s when I have a real problem with them,” Andrus said.

“We had a couple of those (in Montreal) they’ve been addressed, we’ve talked to them (offending players).

“We tell (players) to play smarter, to be smart. There were some other ones, I looked at the tape and I see there’s a lack of consistency throughout the league. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Penalties have been a problem this year for Toronto (2-4). The club enters tonight’s home game against B.C. (2-4) at Rogers Centre (TSN, 5:30 p.m.) as the CFL’s most penalized team, having been flagged 74 times for 640 yards.

And nowhere was that more evident than in a 46-36 home loss to Saskatchewan on July 11. The Riders took control of that game by scoring 30 points in the second quarter to erase a 13-7 deficit. Helping their cause was the Argos taking 14 first-half penalties for 131 yards.

In contrast, the B.C. Lions are one of the CFL’s least penalized teams. They’re ranked fourth in fewest times flagged (57) and second in fewest penalty yards (508).

But Andrus does have a sympathetic ear in Lions head coach and GM Wally Buono.

“I wouldn’t disagree with Bart,” Buono said.

Buono pointed out, though, he understands both the difficulty involved in officiating a fast-paced game like football as well as the human element that’s involved. And even with that, Buono added, the vast majority of times officials are correct in their calls.

Buono also applauded the league’s decision to add instant replay this season and said he wants to continue working behind the scenes with Tom Higgins, the CFL’s director of officiating, on future enhancements.

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