The not-so-special teams

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

The Argonauts probably are saying a little prayer that Randy Srochenski won't stay retired.

The Argos want Steve Schmidt to be their full-time long snapper but he is recovering from a high ankle sprain and it is uncertain whether he will be ready for the season opener on July 1.

Jean-Nicholas Carriere handled the long-snapping duties on Wednesday in a pre-season game against Montreal and it did not go well. There were two blocked punts and another snap sailed over punter Justin Medlock's head.

Srochenski, the Argos' long snapper for the previous five seasons, is a pastor at a church in St. Catharines.

"He has 900 in his congregation and has the bigger picture in mind," Argos general manager Adam Rita said. "We have to get Carriere settled down. The punt protection, more than anything, was what worried us."

As such, head coach Bart Andrus dedicated more time than usual to punting, snapping and protection in practice the past couple of days.

Long road

Defensive end Ben Ishola has known upheaval in his 29 years. Born in Berlin, Ishola moved to his father's home country, Nigeria, not long after he was born. His dad, Babatunde, died of cancer when Ishola was three, prompting he and his German-born mother to move back to her native land.

Ishola boxed and ran track growing up, but did not play football until he was 22. He played semi-pro in Germany, was recruited to Indiana University and in 2007 was named the defensive player of the year with Hamburg in NFL Europa.

Ishola attended camp with the Alouettes last year, and then signed with the Cincinnati Bengals but did not play before he was released.

"It was difficult when it was just my mom and me after my father died," Ishola said. "I have some flashes (of memory) of him, but very few."

Ishola is competing for a backup job.

"The last game was okay, but I like my chances," Ishola said.

Briefly

Andrus cut four imports -- linebacker Derrick Ballard, defensive back Kenny Heatly, defensive end Ronald Jones and running back Jay Lucas -- and non-import offensive guard Richard Zulys ... The Ticats released seven players, including import receiver Scott Mitchell and non-import offensive lineman Daniel Bederman. The Ticats re-signed defensive lineman Garrett McIntyre.


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