Renegade tackles challenge

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

KEMPTVILLE -- If the current depth chart holds true, the Renegades will begin the season with two offensive tackles who have never started at those key positions in the CFL.

That's not ideal for a team that lost four quarterbacks to injury last year -- especially considering one of the two line-anchoring giants hasn't even played football since 2002.

At least Ibrahim Khan, who is listed at right tackle, lined up at a number of positions along the line as a rookie in 2004.

"The way I see that, it's more of an organizational chart ... they're just playing around with their thinking," said Marc Parenteau, a highly touted, former Boston College starter who was drafted late (fifth round) in 2003 only because he wasn't expected to play in the CFL right away.

"I don't see it as me being a starter. I'm just worried about doing the best I can each drill and improving, getting back to where I was. At the end of camp, if they say I'm the best guy to play left tackle, I'll be happy."

INEXPERIENCE

Even the other two offensive tackles are rookies. Also currently on the left side is import Steve Burch, a 22-year-old coming off an impressive college career at Idaho State. Non-import Christian Leibl-Cote is listed as the other right tackle.

The rest of the line is made up of centres George Hudson and Mike Sutherland, and guards Val St. Germain, Samir Chahine, Pascal Cheron, Jean-Francois Roy and American Morris Unutoa, a former NFLer.

Big things are ultimately expected of Parenteau. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder from Sherbrooke, Que., was led to believe he might get an NFL shot when he graduated, but for him, any type of football was going to have to wait.

The family immigration business needed his help, and to the 25-year-old Parenteau, family comes first.

Parenteau, who decided he wanted to return to the playing field last September, has been coaching the O-line at Bishop's since graduating.

Yesterday, he said he felt good getting back in the trenches.

"I anticipated a good amount of rust. I wasn't so much worried about the footwork, I was more worried about the contact," he said.

"Everyone says it's like riding a bike ... I've got to get the first couple of days out of the way. But today it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was a good practice."

Parenteau is familiar with Ottawa's injury problems at QB last year, but feels no added pressure in attempting to serve as a body guard.

"Any left tackle will tell you they don't want their quarterback, their president, to get drilled in the back when he's not seeing a thing," he said. "You've got to give him a chance to make a play. When he gets hit, you don't get hit physically, but you feel it. The only thing you can tell him is sorry, but that doesn't really help him out.

"People say about the pressure stuff, but I don't really feel much pressure. I know it's my job, but I'm a piece of a puzzle ... but I'm just one of the 12 pieces."

Said coach Joe Paopao about Parenteau: "I just want to be open minded. He's got a little rust on him, hey, he got the first (practice) under his belt.

"We're going to give him an opportunity, like everybody else. He's got some background. He's going to need the pre-season games, the whole camp, and go from there."


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