Bison booter makes his return

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

The return of a punter is not normally cause for excessive celebration.

But Andrew Patzer is no ordinary punter, though the Manitoba Bisons rookie will be limited only to punting duties (no cover teams or play at linebacker) as he returns to the lineup for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Week 3 of Canada West football action against the Calgary Dinos.

The second-ranked Bisons meet the Regina Rams this afternoon at University Stadium, with the kickoff slated for 1 p.m. (101.5 UMFM, SHAW-TV).

"Most kickers usually have a bad rep," said Patzer, who suffered the injury while running for a first down on a third-down gamble after fielding a low snap.

HERO OR GOAT

"They either like you or dislike you, you're the hero or the goat. I played soccer for eight years growing up and it's the main reason I got into kicking and punting."

Patzer had time to run out of bounds after gaining first-down yardage against the Dinos, but his competitive spirit took over.

"I wanted to just ram into that guy," said Patzer. "There were two of them coming and I just wanted to give one of them a good pop. I had time to slide or go out of bounds, but the thought never crossed my mind."

Bisons head coach Brian Dobie expects Patzer to handle the punting chores and likely hold down a spot as a starter at outside linebacker next season.

The last Bison to handle kicking duties and start on defence was Jamie Boreham, now the placekicker with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"They have the same mentality," said Dobie. "Jamie was an All-Canadian safety and now he's in the CFL. This kid (Patzer) is exactly the same. I'm willing to bet you money right now that before he's done at Manitoba, he'll be an All-Canadian linebacker. He's going to be a great linebacker in this program. Look at his athleticism, he understands the game. He's such a good athlete, he just happens to be in a 250-pound body.

"And when you have a guy that can punt like that, it's a big weapon. It can change the complexion of the game."

As for the match-up with the Rams (3-3), who are coming off a 32-31 upset victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies, Dobie understands his team needs to execute in order to run their record to 7-0 and clinch top spot in the regular season standings.

"They're going to come in here as high as kites," said Dobie. "It's a ball of fire coming down the Trans-Canada Highway. They're a big play team that plays with a lot of emotion and we're prepared to face that."

The Bisons defeated the Rams 34-24 in the season opener, but not before falling behind 20-2 in the second quarter and orchestrating an impressive comeback.


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