A story of interest Friday from Scott Fisher in the Calgary Sun: Calgary Stampeders ‘foot’ soldiers lay credit at feet of kicking coach Don Sweet.
The part of the story that would most interest many Gryphon fans … Don Sweet’s answer to the question, “Who’s the best punter in the CFL?”
There’s not much of a debate, if you ask kicking coach Don Sweet.
“Right now, the guy who is the benchmark in the CFL, and not because I coach him, is obviously Rob (Maver),” Sweet said of the Calgary Stampeders punter. “He comes up with the big kicks when you need them.
“His fundamentals are so sound and so pure. He lives and dies with football and he’s watching and trying to improve all the time.
“He’s not trying to do something outside of what he can do. He won’t say, ‘OK, I’m going to hit a 70-yarder now.’ But he won’t give you that 22-yarder.”
Sweet said Maver has worked to develop every area of his game.
“Maver adds so much to any team,” Sweet said. “He kicks well out of his endzone, he kicks extremely well into the wind, which would remind you of a guy like (Winnipeg Blue Bombers legend) Bob Cameron in the ’80s. He wouldn’t kick the ball far but he wouldn’t hit a 28-yarder. His bad kick would be 36 or 38 into a strong wind.
“With the wind, he might not kick it 60 yards. He might kick it 55 but he was really consistent.”
There’s no doubt Maver’s ability to hit the coffin corner, putting a punt out of bounds near the opponent’s goal-line, is better developed than any kicker in the league.
In fact, he might be the best ever.
Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel has seen a few kickers during his career. We’ll ask him.
“I don’t know,” Hufnagel said. “I know we have a pretty good one. I will compliment and throw out a bouquet to my punter. He’s excellent at doing that.
“My memory is good. But it’s short.”
Maver points to a pair of long-time kickers and a newcomer as possible coffin-corner kings.
“Lui (Passaglia) was good at everything,” Maver said. “Recently, if you want to talk about guys, (Paul) McCallum was always good at throwing a dart in the corner.
“It’s a skill-set that not a ton of guys have. A lot of guys are strong.
“But this year I will say Lirim Hajrullahu has done a phenomenal job with it in Winnipeg.”