Turf proving tough on kickers

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Noel Prefontaine is glad to be playing at home again, but playing on the turf is another story altogether.

In anticipation of tonight's game against Calgary at the SkyDome, the first at home for the Argos after four road games, the team's veteran punter/place kicker admitted he had concerns about the ersatz grass.

"To be totally, absolutely honest -- I guess I wouldn't be Pre if I wasn't -- I love the place, but the field is very difficult for me to kick on," he said yesterday.

"It's been proven over the first five games, but this is an opportunity for me to solve my problem there and get back to being successful on the field and try to do what I can with that football field.

"But it's tough to kick on. I'm not going to lie about that. It definitely moves a lot. I'm sure the Calgary kicker (Clinton Greathouse) will feel the same way, just like all the other kickers that have come through and played here.

"But you can't beat playing in front of a home crowd and being back at the SkyDome."

The turf, which was installed for the opening game, is physically kinder to the players because it has a greater cushion than the previous modal which was like a worn-out carpet. However, it has drawn criticisms for its instability.

"Visually it's nice and it's nice to run on, but the kicking part of it I don't enjoy too much," Prefontaine said.

"You have to imagine going on one foot and if the ground underneath you moves, then it's a problem. It's not moving all over the place, but there's areas. Everything single hash is velcro. You can move it up with your hand.

"It makes a difference -- you can't avoid that -- but it doesn't give me an excuse to not to be successful.

"I know what I have to do and I know I have to make field goals and I know I have to kick well. I know I have to do those things as a professional, but if I could play on another surface I probably would."


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