the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, October 18, 2010

CFL Week 16: Unexpected Feet

Weekly kicker news usually focuses on big kicks made and kicks missed. But in the sixteenth week of the CFL season the news was who was kicking and where they were kicking. The big story prior to the games was the trading of Noel Prefontaine from Edmonton back to the Toronto Argonauts.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Barker and O’Shea and Nicholson the new president. They were here early in my career. The people who are now in power here didn’t feel the same way as the other management felt.... I think when I left here a lot of the stuff that I said and was upset about was taken out of context. This is the organization that gave me my start. I played here 10 years. This is an organization I won a Grey Cup with, so it’ll always be special in my heart.

If I could rewrite history I would’ve been here 20-plus years, then hung my cleats up and helped the organization in the community or whatever they asked me to do. That’s what I originally envisioned. It didn’t happen, so now I’m playing it year by year until another football opportunity arises in this league in management or coaching ... when that arises I’ll contemplate not playing anymore. Basically, I’m trying to figure how much longer I can play and if they want me here.”
Prefontaine's departure from Edmonton meant that understudy Derek Schiavone stepped into the lead role for the Eskimos.
"I live with Prefontaine, so I found out when he found out [Monday] night and it's a shock to both of us. We figured something was going to happen with both of us because they can only keep one of us. It happened to be now but we thought it would be the end of the year. It's a business and you never know when these things are going to happen.

He just taught me a different outlook on the game. He tried to change the [perception] of what a kicker is. A lot of people think kicker and they think you're not very athletic, but he really taught me that it's more important to be an athlete and a kicker. He has a great arm. If he wants to get involved, he'll go down and make plays on returners ... he won't just sit back. He looks at the game from a different view, I guess."
In the middle of their game this week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders had to switch to punter Eddie Johnson on placekicks when starter Luca Congi was injured during a blocked field goal attempt. Congi noted afterward:
“It’s pretty serious. I’m just hoping the MRI will bring good news and we’ll go from there. I’ve never been hurt in any sport. That in itself is tougher because I don’t know how to handle it right now. I’ve never dealt with anything like this before. I’m going to take some of the advice from the guys who have been hurt before and come back. The biggest thing is to get healthy, take the rehab and be the biggest cheerleader for my teammates.... [Johnson's] as cool as a cucumber and he’ll get the job done. I’ll try to help him out as much as I can.”
How does the cucumberesque Eddie Johnson feel about kicking:
"I don't like doing it because it messes up my punting. I can do it. So I'm not really stressing on it.... Kickers usually don't get injured. Luca took an unnecessary hit, but I was ready to go....
It's two different swings. One is across the body and [punting] is more straight up the body. Kicking off is bad enough, but it's not a big deal. I will make it happen....
Personally, I can hit field goals and I can hit them from far away. If they want that, I can do it. If not, whatever.''
While trades and injuries are certainly not unheard of in professional sports, the B.C. Lions found a rather unique way of ending up with an unexpected kicker in this week's game. Starting kicker Paul McCallum had missed the previous game due to injury but was ready to play this week. The Lions however forgot to update their official roster submission accordingly, so backup kicker Sean Whyte had to scramble at the last moment to be ready for the game:
"I was just standing on the sidelines where I usually do, over by the [kicking] net, and I saw Wally get pretty upset about something, and I asked around what it was, and they said: 'Go get ready.' I think it was during [the opening kickoff by Edmonton]. So I had to run up there [to the temporary locker-room], and I didn't have any of my pads here, so they just kind of grabbed stuff out of the closet and gave it to me. I only had my helmet and my cleats, and they gave me Paul's pads, but those are, like, from the '70s, I think. They're like hockey pads. I couldn't get my arms together. I ended up coming in at halftime and having to trim up the pants, because they went down past my knees. My jersey wasn't hemmed. We had some sewing to do at halftime."
Paul McCallum tweeted, presumably regarding that situation, the following morning:
"Waking up and the nightmare is still there!... Wow is all I can say....."

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