No snap decision for Eskimos

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:46 AM ET

EDMONTON - Derek Schiavone knew the Edmonton Eskimos weren’t simply going to hand him the kicking duties this year.

So the fourth-year kicker had no issues with the team bringing in veteran Damon Duval to inject some competition for the position.

“I can’t let something like that affect me,” Schiavone said. “I’m going into my fourth year and I’ve always had a veteran in camp. So there’s no change this year, it’s just a different name.

“In the off-season I thought I was going to be coming in here and competing with a handful of guys. As it turns out, I’m just competing against him.”

The Eskimos have invested a lot of time in Schiavone since signing the product of Western Ontario in 2008.

Last year, Schiavone spent most of the season on the injured reserve list before being activated for the last four games of the season following Noel Prefontaine’s departure.

He went into training camp this year as the team’s top kicker.

“I don’t really look at it as though it’s my job to lose, because it’s a whole new coaching staff here this year,” Schiavone said.

“I’m just coming in as though there is an opening and an opportunity for me to earn a spot. I’m not coming in here saying that it’s my spot to lose.”

Schiavone, 26, played in a total of five games last year, converting on 15 of 18 field goals. He also averaged just over 40 yards on his 25 punts.

“Getting in last year towards the end of the year was definitely good,” Schiavone said. “After a while of just sitting around, you get a little down on yourself because you want to play.

“Playing one here and there, you don’t really get the effects of the ups and downs of a kicker. So playing four in a row last season was huge for myself in development in just understanding how to get over a bad kick.”

The kicking fraternity in the CFL is small, so Schiavone and Duval know each other, having been on opposing sidelines for the past three years.

Despite competing for the same job, the two have a good relationship with one another.

“I think having him here makes me be more focused,” Schiavone said. “I know in pre-game sometimes I’ll struggle real bad with field goals, but once I get in that game atmosphere with the snap and rushers, I have a pretty high percentage.

“I think when I get into the zone is where I do my best and I’ll have to be really focused now that he’s here.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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