Punter a real catch

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

The lanky new wide receiver running a short hitch route looked vaguely familiar.

A quick glance at the Calgary Stampeders depth chart proved futile.

No. 14 wasn't listed at W, X, Y or Z receiver. That jersey number belongs to punter Burke Dales. So do those nice hands, as was displayed on the scout team in practice last week.

This wasn't the first time Dales has caught passes. The Concordia product only recently put all his attention into punting. He played slotback in university and linebacker or defensive line in high school.

So the rookie can't wait to add a wrinkle or two in terms of fake punts or field goals, where he's also been taking a few reps as a holder.

"If there's anything we can do or enter in our bag of tricks for the punt team, I'm all for it," said the 6-ft. 3-in. 225-pounder. "I really crave it. Anytime coach (Tom) Higgins asks me to come in for scout team, I'm happy about it. I like to get in there and play football.

"I like to punt, too, but I've played a lot of different positions and really enjoy receiver."

Special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson likes the 28-year-old's enthusiasm.

First he wants Dales to concentrate on task No. 1: Directional punting.

It could be October before the Stamps try another fake punt, which they did in the pre-season game in B.C.

The play didn't work but Dickenson was pleased with the way Dales handled the situation. The design called for a rollout and throw but there was pressure by the Lions and he punted it away.

"He's got ability," Dickenson said. "That's why we tried a fake against B.C. It didn't work the way we planned but he showed his athleticism.

"Most guys would take a sack on that but he managed to get it off and we still got about 20 yards out of it.

"It's certainly better than getting sacked and losing 10."


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