Stampeders punter doing best to bury

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 AM ET

Historically, coffin-corner kicks have been deadly to Burke Dales.

Too often, the Stampeders punter has left the field after booting a ball into the endzone for a single point instead of pinning the opposing offence deep.

Twice in Saturday’s 40-20 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Dales executed Lui Passaglia specials. (Remember how the former B.C. Lions hall-of-famer would land the ball near the sidelines and it would bounce sideways out of bounds.)

Dales, whose punting game has always been more about power than finesse, made a concerted effort this season to do a better job of forcing opponents to use a long field.

“I was really anxious this year to progress on the placement side of the game. I often refer to it as golf, trying to find that 9-iron or pitching wedge in my bag, just do a nice, easy punt, pick my target,” he said. “I was able to do that. That’s what I’m looking to do this year.”

A big reason Calgary beat the Roughriders was how one-sided the field-position battle became. Dales was part of that game within the game.

One punt went out of bounds at the six-yard line. Another time on the seven.

“The best feeling for me is coming off and seeing all the defensive guys with big smiles on their faces. I know I’d done that,” said Dales, who had seven punts for an average of 48.3 yards. “They’d much rather see Darian Durant starting on the six-yard line and not the 35.

“We get the momentum back in the game. You don’t like it when the offence stalls at midfield, nobody does, but it happens, so you want to get that momentum back with a good coffin-corner punt.

“It’s a tough kick for me,” Dales admitted.

“The more that I get, and the more I can execute, the more often I’ll be confident I can get it done,” he said.

Extra points

Receiver Ken-Yon Rambo again took first-team duties in practice and doesn’t just look like a go against Winnipeg Saturday but will be expected to be a full part of the attack. “He has to be ready to go,” GM/head coach John Hufnagel said. “That’s why we’ve been cautious with it, so when he is on the field, we can count on him for 60 minutes.” ... Both receiver P.K. Sam (knee) and DB Brandon Smith (groin) again didn’t practice Wednesday.


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