Kellett's eyeing a better effort

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

KEMPTVILLE -- One week into training camp, the Renegades kicking situation appears to be in some question.

And to steal a quote from past management, it's a position where "being bad cannot be an option".

When Ottawa traded for Matt Kellett on draft day, both he and coach/GM Joe Paopao said they were confident eye problems that had plagued the veteran place kicker/punter were behind him. A much-anticipated battle with Sandro Sciortino was expected through Camp Kemptville and the two pre-season games, with Kellett the best bet to emerge on the basis of his experience, consistency and the fact he can do both kicking jobs.

But on the day players reported for physicals, Sciortino surprisingly retired, citing the need to reflect on life after battling cancer.

And Kellett, who was forced to wear glasses under his helmet as he connected on just three of eight field goals in Saturday's scrimmage, admitted afterward that his eyes are still giving him trouble.

Suddenly, it's possible the Montreal braintrust of Don Matthews and Jim Popp had reason other than obtaining the fifth pick overall to move Kellett along.

"They're not 100%," Kellett said of his eyes, "but they aren't as bad as they were last year, either."

Kellett missed much of Week 1 waiting to see a Renegades-appointed optometrist before finally getting in for testing. While he awaits the results, he is unable to play with contacts or compete with Pat Fleming in punting.

His placekicking left much to be desired Saturday, however. On eight attempts from the 42-45 yard range, he was wide right, wide left and just over 37%.

Only on three or four of the kicks did he seem to make good, solid contact.

"Obviously, it didn't go very well," said Kellett. "But for the amount of time we've put into it, with the new centre and new holder ... everything is starting to come along. I'm not stressing. We still have a couple of weeks (before the season starts). This stuff doesn't mean anything."

Paopao has mentioned no plans of bringing in another candidate for the job. He says the hard work done by Fleming in the off-season has him "ahead of the past" and that the Renegades "will probably go with two kickers for the time being."

Fleming has practised his placekicking, but it's unlikely the 'Gades would be comfortable enough to use him in a game right now.

Paopao says he isn't worried about Kellett.

"It was good to see Matt out there kicking, getting his rhythm down," said Paopao. "Being a veteran player, he is getting used to a (new) holder and snapper.

"There is not much concern ... just kick away."


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