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Hogan: Argos title defence starts in Winnipeg's new stadium

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Mike Hogan
6/12/2013 12:57:45 PM
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There's not a championship ring on the line, but that doesn't mean there won't be pressure on members of the Toronto Argonauts, as they kick off the 2013 season in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

In fact, there will be little similarity between the lineup that won the Grey Cup game last November to the group of players who will take part in the first-ever game played at the $200 million dollar Investor Group Field.

Head coach Scott Milanovich left most of his starting lineup back in Ontario, giving a combination of returning players and newcomers the chance to impress the coaching staff under game conditions.

"We're going to get a real good look at some of the younger guys and give some of the veteran guys a bit of a break" said Milanovich, adding that Wednesday's game does indeed matter a lot. There are jobs at stake.

"We're looking to see who can transfer it from the practice field to the game field and ultimately (look for) guys that we can count on when the lights come on".

Milanovich announced that second-year Argo Trevor Harris will get the start at quarterback. With the departure of Jarious Jackson, the role of Ricky Ray's back-up QB is up for grabs and four candidates will see action Wednesday. Joining Harris is fellow returnee Zach Collaros, as well as newcomers Mitchell Gale and Josh Portis.

The game can be heard live on TSN 1050 Radio or at TSN.ca/Toronto at 8pm et/5pm pt. It will also be rebroadcast in its entirety on TSN 1050 at midnight, following live coverage of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Notes: Among those not making the trip are most of last year's starting offensive players; Ricky Ray, Chad Kackert, Chad Owens, Dontrelle Inman, Andre Durie, Jason Barnes, Chris Van Zeyl and Tony Washington are all back in Toronto. Defensive starters from a year ago; Kevin Huntley, Robert McCune, Marcus Ball, Brandon Isaac and Pacino Horne are also not on the trip, nor is K/P Swayze Waters. High-profile newcomer Khalif Mitchell will also sit this one out...Usually veterans are given the road pre-season game off, so it was a little surprising to see the two players with the most seniority as Argos on the trip. Fullback Jeff Johnson is entering his 14th CFL season, his 12th with Toronto, while centre Jeff Keeping is back for his eighth season in double blue. Both will play Wednesday...The demolition of the Bombers former home, Canad Inns Stadium, is underway. One of the grandstands has been completely torn down...That stadium hosted one of the most memorable games in Argo history, the 1991 Grey Cup win over Calgary, highlighted by Rocket Ismail's 87-yard kickoff return...The weather calls for partly cloudy skies and 22 degrees at kickoff.

Argonauts hoist Grey Cup (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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