Munoz ready to rumble for Esks

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:38 AM ET

EDMONTON - Damaso Munoz can’t wait to hit someone again.

The Edmonton Eskimos linebacker will get his chance on Friday when the Calgary Stampeders are in town for the final preseason game of the year.

Munoz is expected to get the start at outside linebacker for the contest, and is projected to begin the regular season there.

“We want to do well in our last preseason game,” Munoz said. “We want to finish off strong and get ready for the regular season.”

Acquired in the trade that sent kicker Noel Prefontaine back to the Toronto Argonauts last season, Munoz is essentially a CFL rookie.

He was on the Argonauts practice roster last season before finishing out the year on the Eskimos practice roster.

This season, he’s part of a faster, more aggressive defence put together by defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler and linebackers coach Mark Nelson.

“I think last year just having that time, being around the game, going to the games, learning the CFL game, helped me a lot going into this year and hopefully, it will help me this year,” Munoz said. “They wanted speed on the defence and I think they’ve done a good job of getting guys that are fast.”

A product of Rutgers University, Munoz led the way defensively for the Eskimos with four tackles in last week’s exhibition loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Despite having been around last season, he’s still working on picking up the intricacies of the CFL game.

“I wanted to come into training camp with that beginner’s mentality,” Munoz said. “There are a lot of new pieces here and I just wanted to come in and absorb as much as I can.

“I think last year the biggest adjustment for me was all the motion on offence. It’s a big change. Other than that, it’s really the same. Football is football, you get after it, you hit people and try to make them cry.”

At five-foot-11, 219-pounds, Munoz can pack a wallop. However, despite competing for jobs at training camp, coaches frown upon defensive players laying out their own teammates in practice.

That’s what exhibition games are for.

“Since you can’t do it in practice, it just kind of teases you, so it’s just so much better when you get an opportunity to take somebody’s head off in a game,” Munoz said. “When it’s game time, you turn it on with the lights and you get after it.

“We have a fast, aggressive defence that likes to get after the ball, and hopefully, we’ll have a good year.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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