TORONTO - Kevin Eiben’s torn pectoral muscle could result in some pain for Noel Prefontaine.
Eiben has been the holder for the left-footed Argonauts kicker, who has spent the past few days at practice auditioning new holders.
“For myself, there is extreme concern,” Prefontaine said. “(Having a regular holder for field goals) is something you get used to, the rhythm of it. You go to a new holder, the timing could be off. You are thinking about it, wondering about the hold, about the kick, so it can cause a lot of problems for kickers.
“Holders for right-footed kickers are a dime a dozen, but for left-footed kickers, it’s difficult.”
Prefontaine has missed a couple of games with a quad injury, but said on Wednesday he will be good to go when the Argonauts travel to Ivor Wynne Stadium on Saturday to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
With that in mind, no less than four players — Jeremaine Copeland, Chad Owens, Mike Bradwell and Grant Shaw — have been practising as holders with Eiben out, likely for the rest of the regular season.
Just one practice remains before the Argos have their walkthrough on Friday morning, so time is crucial.
Copeland is the kind of natural athlete who can pick something up fairly quickly, but he never has held before.
“I would be all right with it,” Copeland said. “But it’s not confirmed yet. I’m still on the cutting block. It’s just a matter of getting the ball down quick enough for Pre.”
Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker has no interest in taking chances. If a holder to Prefontaine’s liking is not discovered, Shaw, who boots with his right foot, will do the kicking against the Ticats.
“(Eiben’s) loss can not be understated,” Barker said. “Pre is a left-foot kicker, so everything is backward from what the holder has to do. It’s a difficult job. We can’t put a guy out there who can’t hold and expect Pre to perform. Kevin Eiben is as good as anyone Pre has been around, so now to go to anyone else is going to be difficult for him.
“Pre has been doing it so long, when you put a holder there who he is not comfortable with, it is almost fruitless to try.”