Kicking nightmare

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

CALGARY -- With the exception of a couple of decent directional punts out of bounds, it was a dismal debut for the Edmonton Eskimos' new-look kicking game.

In his first-ever CFL regular season game, import punter Rodney Williams watched a perfect snap slip through his hands, another snap sail over his head and a punt shank off his kicking foot for a measly 20-yards last night.

'EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED'

"I'm extremely frustrated," said Williams after the Esks lost 24-14 to the Calgary Stampeders to start the real season.

"Myself and the punt team had a lot of chances to put us in a position to get better field position and it didn't work out."

The biggest mistake was early in the first quarter when he botched the snap from Taylor Inglis and didn't kick out of the end zone for a two-point safety. Instead, he was tackled on the ball at the three-yard line, giving the Stampeders golden field position.

"It was a good snap - a real strong snap on a heavy ball and I just missed it," admitted Williams. "I didn't know somebody was coming from the right side, so I was just going to pick it up and hit it.

"If I was more aware of where I was, I would have kicked it out of the back of the end zone."

The Stamps used the field position for a field goal, but it could have been a lot worse.

With a thunderstorm before the game, the field was wet, making the ball slippery. But Stamps' punter Burke Dales wasn't fazed.

"If I touch the ball, I am supposed to catch it," said Williams.

Sean Fleming - who had to watch Williams struggle - had his own glaring mistake. For the first time since 2002, Fleming missed an extra point. It happened in the first half.

"The ball slipped off the tee, so it was laying on its side when I was kicking it," said Fleming, "but I was hoping it would ricochet off and through."

Instead it clanked off the back of players blocking on the line.

"Jason (Johnson) might have placed it on the edge of the tee and once he tries to spin it, who knows where the ball is going to go?" added Fleming.

CHEMISTRY LACKING

Johnson is Fleming's new holder with the departure of Jason Maas - and Fleming admitted there were timing issues on his lone field-goal attempt, which he also missed.

SHORT HIT: After preaching all week that they need to cut down on penalties, Edmonton was still flagged 11 times for nearly 100 yards.

FINISH LINES: An electrical storm delayed the start of the game by 35 minutes... Rookie DL Sherrod Coates hobbled around with a big ice pack on his left ankle after the game.


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