Hinse called in to centre for Esks
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Eskimos centre Gord Hinse works out during practice at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alta., Sep. 6, 2011. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos are giving a big thumb’s up to Gord Hinse.
The U of A product and third-year Eskimos offensive lineman was called upon for the first time this season Monday afternoon against the Saskatchewan Roughriders after starting centre Kyle Koch left with a knee injury.
“Sometimes circumstances aren’t ideal, losing a good player like Koch during the game,” said Hinse. “But that’s what you wait for, I guess.”
And wait he has, after being placed on the nine-game injured list since suffering a broken thumb at the beginning of training camp back in June, where he was depth charted at centre.
In fact, Monday was the first time this season Hinse had even been slung on the active roster.
“For whatever reason, my spider-senses were tingling this week about the O-line and I felt we needed a seventh,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “Mom didn’t give me good looks, but she gave me some common sense.”
Also pressed into active duty in Monday’s game due to injury was veteran guard Patrick Kabongo, who played in place of Greg Wojt, meaning a new look to the O-line that had seen continuity since Week 8.
“You wait for the opportunity and I went in there and played — well, we’ll see how the film looks, but I’m happy with the win,” said Hinse, whose name never came up after coming into the game, which is exactly the way an offensive lineman likes it to be.
It was the first time Hinse appeared at centre since being drafted 11th overall in 2009, but he had previously played the position with the Golden Bears under Eskimos current offensive line coach Tim Prinsen.
“That’s where I like to play, that’s where I probably feel most comfortable so I take a lot of reps there in practice on scout,” Hinse said, who also has time at tackle and guard on his CIS resume. “I played everything in a game, so I know what it’s like to have some centre game experience.”
That’s not to say comfort was the only thing he felt when he got the call to go in.
“Oh, yeah, you’re going to be nervous but you have to get the first couple hits and settle down a little bit and just feel the flow of the game,” Hinse said. “It slows down a little bit, but yeah, I was pretty nervous coming in at first.”
If he was, it didn’t show in his performance as Hinse picked things up in a snap.
Reed said those weren’t an problem, either.
“That’s always an issue with shotgun, but I was working hard all week and they came back pretty good, I think,” Hinse said. “So I’m all right with that.”
As was the one handling his snaps and trusting in his pass-protection abilities.
“That was unbelievable,” said quarterback Ricky Ray. “A guy that’s been around here the last few years and not really getting much playing time — kind of been on the roster, off the roster — to be able to come in and play an important position like centre where you’re making a lot of calls and snapping the ball, that was awesome.”
Injuries to Koch and former starter Aaron Fiacconi mean Ray is already on his third centre of the season.
“Yeah, that’s been a bad position for us,” he said. “We’ll see what’s up with Kyle and Gord just did a great job so he’s got to be ready, too.”