CALGARY - Perhaps it was much ado a-boot nothing.
Either way, Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel solved his kickers conundrum before it became a kicker controversy, announcing after Tuesday’s chilly workout that rookie Rene Paredes will continue to be the go-to guy on field-goal attempts.
Rob Maver returns from the nine-game injured list this week and will remain with the Red & White, but the man originally tabbed to be the club’s kicker this season will be scratched for Saturday’s showdown with the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium.
“I have two kickers, and they’ll both be kicking in practice. Rene is the kicker for the near future,” Hufnagel said. “Rene has done an excellent job. I talked with both individuals this morning about why I made my decision, and they have a total understanding of the reasons.”
Paredes was certainly understanding, telling reporters he’s been satisfied with his performance in nine professional appearances.
Since joining the Stamps in the second week of the season, the 26-year-old is 21-for-27 on field-goal attempts. He currently ranks fifth in the CFL with 91 total points.
And Maver understands it, too, although he’s anxious for another opportunity after recovering from a quad injury suffered in Week 1 of the campaign.
“I understand if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Maver said with a shrug. “It’s frustrating for me personally, because, obviously, I want to be out there competing. But at the same time, he’s kicked well and he’s helped us win games, and I completely understand.”
The Stamps auditioned several kickers after an injured Maver struggled in a season-opening loss to the Toronto Argonauts, and the former Concordia Stingers standout, Paredes, won the job.
In addition to a 77.8% success rate on field goals in nine outings, Paredes is perfect on 24 converts and is averaging 61.0 yards on kickoffs, the fourth-best total in the league. His stats-sheet includes an aced assignment from the 50-yard mark and several other field goals from 45-plus.
After Tuesday’s practice, he admitted it was a relief to hear from Hufnagel that he’d get an extended audition with the Stamps.
“He basically told me that I’m his kicker for next game and for the coming-up games,” Paredes said. “I think, since Day 1, he has shown a lot of confidence (in me). My first kick was a 50-yarder, so I think he’s confident in me. And I’m confident in myself — just keep kicking.”
Maver will keep kicking, too.
The Stamps selected the former University of Guelph Gryphons kicker in the opening round of the 2010 CFL Draft. He won the league scoring title last season, setting a franchise rookie record with 185 points, and believes he can punt at the big-league level.
Maver has been healthy for a couple of weeks. He proved it by nailing a 49-yarder at the tail-end of Tuesday’s practice but refused to speculate afterward about his future at McMahon Stadium.
“One day at a time — I’m not going to play the ‘What if?’ game,” Maver said. “One thing that I do know is when I’m healthy, I can perform at a very high level in this league doing both duties. All I’m going to do is focus on what I can do.”
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