Pre waitin' for season

GARY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

Enough with the preseason already, Pre’s season can’t come too soon.

Edmonton Eskimos kicker Noel Prefontaine is looking forward to the official end of training camp on Thursday to close out the 2010 preseason.

“It’s bad enough that I’m a kicker to begin with, there’s a lot of dead time,” said the veteran, who spent 10 years with the Toronto Argonauts before heading west for the 2008 season with the Green and Gold. “After 13 years, camp gets pretty boring.

“The beginning is fun. You get back, you get a chance to see guys you haven’t seen in a while and then after about three or four days go by, you’re like: “When is this going to be over?’ Good for us it’s over soon.”

Five minutes

That’s probably because with the offence, defence, special teams squads, one-on-ones, stretches and scrimmages taking up the majority of the practice time, it leaves about five minutes at the beginning of practice and 10 more at the end for the kickers.

And as good an understudy as Derek Schiavone has been since also joining the Eskimos in 2008, there’s not exactly a showdown for the starting role in training camp just yet.

“It doesn’t matter whether you play one year or 13 years, you need it to kind of tune up and shake the rust off,” said Prefontaine, who averaged 58.5 yards on a pair of kickoffs in the first preseason game against the Calgary Stampeders, and nailing three punts a total of 133 yards.

“I played a lot more in this first preseason game than I have in the past,” said Prefontaine, who upped his productivity to six punts for 265 yards and five kickoffs for 279 yards, along with a 45-yard field goal Sunday against the B.C. Lions. “I feel pretty good.”

Schiavone saw limited action Sunday, following an impressive performance the week prior with a 59-yard kickoff and 224 yards on five punts, which could have been longer had he not been forced to bury three of them in the coffin corner.

“He did good”

“He did good,” Prefontaine said. “He keeps progressing every year. He’s doing a great job and these decisions that the organization has to make, they’re difficult decisions not just at our position but they have other positions they have to look at and evaluate. We need to field the best team possible for the Edmonton Eskimos and the fans and we need to try to put out a product on the field that will bring in a Grey Cup.”

But for now, Prefontaine and the Eskimos are focused on getting the season off on the right foot … or the left one, in this kicker’s case.

“Preseason for me, I’ve always taken the stance that I don’t care if I play in the first game.

“The second game, you want to try and get more into a rhythm because the season’s about to start.

“It’s always been a progression. It’s important that we have preseason games just to get the feel because it’s one thing to perform in practice and do certain things out here, but the game is always a different animal. Your intensity or your attitude is always different on game day and you have to get used to that.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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