After a long season, this marks the final installment of Ask The Expert. Thanks to all who took the time to ask interesting questions and commentaries. This week Randy Bear (yes that’s his real name and it’s easily the best of all who e-mailed this corner) asked about kickers and the ritual of massaging footballs.
Q: I notice that when the kickers are teeing up the ball for a kickoff that many of them squeeze the ball lengthwise before kicking it. Why?
A: Many of them are just trying to work in the footballs to give them some elasticity because they are new. It’s like a pitcher trying to dirty up or scuff the sheen off a new baseball to get a better feel for it. There are new balls used for every game. The minimum according to the rule book is seven, although clubs usually supply 12. For the Grey Cup, a minimum of 24 balls will be available. It is up to the referee’s discretion to change the balls.
Ed note: The balls are always bigger.
Q: Can you tell me who Saskatchewan drafted the year Jason Clermont was drafted, and where he is now?
A: Saskatchewan did not have a first-round pick that year — Clermont was taken fourth overall by B.C. — and did not select until the second round, 15th overall, and chose Laval offensive lineman Francois Boulienne, who won the J.P. Metras Trophy as the Oustanding Lineman in Canadian University Football. He did not pursue a pro career and is involved now in business.
Ed note: Both players are doing okay.
Mea culpa: To correct an answer from a question from last week’s mailbag, no yards is not called on an on-side kick because the kickoff team is lined up behind the kicker.