Noel gets his kicks

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

Noel Prefontaine is going to get the first crack at replacing Sean Fleming.

Even though there is still tonight's final preseason game on the agenda, Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia has essentially handed all three kicking duties - punting, field goals and kickoffs - to Prefontaine for the regular-season opener in Saskatchewan on June 28.

It means the future of sophomore Warren Kean -who was taken second overall by the Esks in the 2007 CFL draft - is up in the air.

"I think it is almost a given right now that (Prefontaine will) handle all three (kicking roles) for us when we open up on June 28," said Maciocia. "The question is: Who is No. 2?"

Prefontaine will primarily handle field goal duties tonight.

The battle for No. 2 on the kicking/punting depth chart is between Kean and rookie Derek Schiavone.

Maciocia hasn't declared who is else is dressing tonight besides Prefontaine, but there is a distinct possibility that Schiavone will be the only other kicker on the roster.

The bench boss would like to keep two kickers when the final roster is cut down to 53 players on Saturday - but there is no guarantee that will happen.

"Let's see how it all plays itself out. We have got 64 bodies here and we have got to get down to 53 by Saturday - that means 11 more cuts," said Maciocia.

"You can maybe make an argument for two or three cuts (right now) but after that it will be difficult. So, the question is: Who do you keep - and still make sure you have enough depth at all positions that if you run into an injury or two, you can still line up and compete?"

If two kickers are kept around town, surely one will be placed on the practice roster or stashed on the protected non-dressed taxi squad.

The advantage of having just one non-import kicker handle all three duties in the regular season is the club can dress an extra body elsewhere.

Kean was drafted with the intent of replacing Fleming.

After studying under him last year, Kean got a chance to kick field goals in the final 2007 regular-season game before Fleming retired in the off-season.

Edmonton's terrible display of offence in last week's preseason loss didn't allow Kean a chance to kick a field goal.

But he clearly lost the battle to Prefontaine - a 10-year CFL veteran who came via trade from Toronto this spring - in training camp practices.

"Warren has been hot and cold throughout camp," said Maciocia, noting Prefontaine was more consistent.


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