An outburst littered with expletives came after the team appeared “lazy” to the coach, who stopped the players and onlookers in their tracks.
“Sometimes it gets frustrating and the head coach gets angry and that’s what happened today,” Barker said after the practice.
He cited a lack of focus for the problem as the team prepared for its upcoming game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.
“They’re less focused because that’s what happens this time of year,” Barker said. “And you have to find guys who can last for 18 games, being able to focus all week in practice. That’s how you become good.”
Becoming a good team is something the Argos have started to do this season. With five games left to play, they are 6-7 (1-5 lately), after having only notched seven total victories over the last two years.
But the Boatmen won’t find smooth sailing into the playoff race, with a tough schedule left on the docket.
In Regina, the Argos will be looking to come back from a 27-16 defeat at the hands of the Riders last week. Heading to Saskatchewan, Barker knows his team has a lot of work to do.
“It’s a matter of getting in sync on offence and then on defence tightening things up and they’ve been working on some new things and some different things,” Barker said.
“It’s about playing better this week than we did last week and then moving forward to the playoffs.”
Trying to prepare his team for the tough environment that will be Mosaic Stadium, the head coach brought a noise machine to practice for only the second time this season. The first was in preparation for the Labour Day game at Ivor Wynne.
Barker was impressed that the noise projection wasn’t a distraction to starting quarterback Cleo Lemon, well on his way back from missing one game with a concussion.
“He’s looked good,” Barker said of Lemon. “He’s come out and he’s throwing the ball well and he’s doing the things he’s been asked to do so I think he seems like his head’s clear and he’s able to make the calls.
“And if his head’s clear after that noise today then he’s really clear.”
With the possible addition of Lemon to the roster on Saturday, the Argos will have the makings of their ideal lineup.
Running back Cory Boyd will lead the offence in his second game back after being out with his third concussion.
Chad Owens will lead the charge for special teams, coming off his fourth player of the week award for his performance against Saskatchewan.
With Adriano Belli and Kevin Huntley watching Wednesday’s practice from the sidelines, the defence may take a hit though.
Barker was unsure of Belli’s status, and said that because of a problem with Huntley’s shoulder the team was going light on him. Whether or not he plays this weekend will be a decision made at a later date.