He’ll be kicking for the visiting team, but it will be kind of like a home game for Roughriders’ kicker Quinn van Gylswyk.
He’ll be getting the start at kicker for the second time since he was drafted by the green and white last year. The club’s usual kicker, Tyler Crapigna has been moved to the six-game injured list after pulling a muscle during last week’s game in Toronto.
“I’ve been ready since training camp,” van Gylswyk said. “Tyler’s been doing his thing (but) it’s a good opportunity for me.”
Van Gylswyk last took on kicking responsibilities in August of last year, but it was a less than stellar debut for him, going just one for three on field goals. However, he was strong in the 2017 preseason game against Winnipeg, making all four kicks he attempted including a 46-yarder.
He denied there’s any sort of competition between himself and Crapigna for the job, but admitted that sitting on the bench has been a “trying” experience for him.
“We’re buddies,” van Gylswyk insisted. “He’s been kicking lights out and I’m just here to support him. I’m just getting a shot now, which is awesome for me.”
And he’ll get that shot close to home and in front of plenty of friends and family in Vancouver on Saturday. Van Gylswyk grew up in Victoria but went to the University of British Columbia where he went down in lore for kicking the Vanier Cup winning field goal in 2015.
“I’m going to be in front of people who used to watch me in University, so it’s like home field advantage for me,” he raved.
“(This) couldn’t have worked any better. I love playing in B.C. Place (where the Lions play). I’m really looking forward to it. Family, friends, everyone is going to be there.”
Since the Riders have had van Gylswyk on the roster for more than a full season now, head coach Chris Jones says they know exactly what he’s capable of.
“Certainly we have statistically analysis to decide exactly if and when we want to take kicks,” Jones said.
He added van Gylswyk and Crapigna are different, but they know what circumstances can help make van Gylswyk successful.
“Whether it’s range or whether it’s the fact that one guy likes one hash better then the other. We’ll be very cautious with him, and gain his confidence and let him go as he progresses.”
In University, van Gylswyk took on both punting and kicking duties but this week he’ll be able to leave the punting in the hands – and on the foot – of Riders punter Josh Bartel, which allows him to focus solely on field goals and kick offs.
“It works out pretty well because either you have a really good kicking day or a really good punting day or a mediocre day in both,” he explained. “I just get to focus on kicking, which is easy for me.”
Van Gylswyk also praised the help that Bartel has given him since he joined the team last season.
“He’s a good role model,” he said. “He’s a funny guy, he lightens up the atmosphere. He’s done a lot for me.”
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