July 25, 2021

Hogan: Camp Diary – Day 16

Sometimes patience pays off, and for the Toronto Argonauts that was the case in this year’s free-agency period.

The hounds were released on February 2, and the club did alright, announcing the signing of running back John White and quarterback Antonio Pipkin, after players like Charleston Hughes, Cordarro Law, Eric Rogers and Robertson Daniel had already signed with the team.

The main target of free agency was a Canadian linebacker, one they’d have to wait on.

Cameron Judge (he prefers Cameron to Cam) had arranged an NFL tryout with the Las Vegas Raiders and was going to go through with it before agreeing to terms with any CFL team. The Argos let him know they would wait for him to do that, and if it didn’t work out, they’d love to have him in Toronto.

Eight days later he was in Double Blue.

With the number of free agents landed by the club, most observers figured they were done adding to the roster, especially on the defensive side. But exactly one month after Judge put pen to paper, the Argos stunned the CFL world by adding another linebacker, Henoc Muamba.

In one month the Argos had added the 2019 CFL Most Outstanding Canadian and the runner-up in that category; two players who greatly improved the calibre of Canadians in the starting lineup and gave Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie flexibility in terms of how he would handle the ratio and the number of Canadian starters.

It also reunites the pair, who were teammates in Saskatchewan in 2017, Judge’s first year in the league. He’s happy about the reunion in the 6ix.

“It’s going great,” Judge told Argonauts.ca. “Playing with Henoc again is a lot of fun. The last time we were together I was a rookie who didn’t really play too much. Now I have a different way of communicating with him.”

Muamba is likewise thrilled to be playing with an older, more experienced Judge.

“It’s so cool,” said the Father Michael Goetz Secondary in Mississauga product. “Last time I was playing with him he was more of a package guy; he was learning the game. He’s always been a student of the game, so I’m not surprised with the growth that he has experienced over the years. I’m excited to be beside him, our linebacker room is so talented.”

He’s not only excited about the personnel, but the man masterminding the game plan, Defensive Coordinator Glen Young.

“I love the system,” said Muamba, still in uniform almost an hour after practice had concluded on Sunday. “We’re doing a lot of things that I haven’t done in the past. There are things I’m familiar with as well, but I love the mind and the approach that Coach Young brings to the game, and man, I just love talking to him. He’s super smart and seeing his perspective is really cool.”

It only makes sense that Muamba is a fan of his coach, as he’s stylistically similar to the way Young played linebacker in the CFL and NFL. Judge is also liking what he’s seen so far from his new DC.

“I really like Glen Young,” said Judge. “I love his scheme and I love the way he coaches. I’m excited, I’m very excited. There’s a lot of talent out here and a lot of guys who are working to get better every day.”

There’s an old adage that a CFL team is only as good as its Canadian talent. If that’s the case, the Argos are in excellent shape heading into the 2021 season.



After most of the players had Saturday off, Sunday’s practice was a high-paced affair so players and coaches could a) get their work in and b) get out of the heat. It was a warm one at the University of Guelph.

Coach Dinwiddie spoke to the media after practice was over and was asked if he was happy with what he’s seen from the defensive line and linebackers.

“Oh ya. They’re getting after the passer. Linebackers; seems like whenever we’re getting to the second level, we’re working our double teams and those guys are flying in there filling their gaps. I’m really pleased with both those groups.”

It’s less than two weeks until the Argos open the season in Calgary. How sweet does that sound?

Two players were on the field for the first time this camp; receiver Rodney Smith, back with the Argos and wearing number 13; and running back DJ Foster, wearing number 20. Both looked very comfortable in their new surroundings.

The biggest cheers of the offence vs. defence sections was for defensive back Andrew Soroh, who wound up and executed a perfectly placed punch on the football, knocking it out of a receiver’s hands as soon as he turned upfield. Davontae Merriweather pounced on the opportunity, recovering the fumble.

Veteran linebacker Bear Woods also spoke to the media via Zoom after practice. The Alabama resident was asked about being a father figure on the team; somebody who can show the newcomers “The Argo Way”.

It hit a nerve. Woods gave a thoughtful, passionate, lengthy answer, which had the handful of people within earshot of his words ready to run through a wall for him. As a part of his answer he talked about playing in the moment, not in the past or the future.

“I hold a high responsibility on myself to make sure that guys understand that this is the here and now. There’s a flag (the 2017 Grey Cup championship banner) hanging at BMO Field that I was able to share a part in. I didn’t come all the way to Canada, to leave my wife and four kids, to not hang another flag at BMO Field before I head back home.”

A non-roster player from William and Mary was shagging punts early in practice. His name is Michael Clemons, who goes by the nickname “Pinball”. He looked good, hauling in some towering punts from Boris Bede, not allowing any to hit the turf. Argonauts.ca will keep you updated on his progress.