June 11, 2013

Rookie returners looking for a chance to shine


Kyle Myers | Ticats.ca Staff

HAMILTON — In 2012, special teams were one of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats greatest strengths. As it stands today, a key position on special teams – punt returner – in Hamilton remains vacant. Two rookies in camp are eager to seize that role and continue the team’s success in 2013.

Lindsey Lamar and Ouslet Volcy have been taking most of the reps in training camp fielding punts and both have shown the explosiveness and the speed required to be returners in the CFL.

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The two players have special teams experience in college, though almost exclusively in returning kickoffs. Still, that doesn’t mean that the two – who are both 5-9 and weigh in south of 180 pounds – aren’t ready for a new challenge.

“I’m learning as I go,” said Volcy, who compiled 666 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in his senior season at ASA College in New York. “(Coach Reinebold) has set everything up in camp to give us players the upper-hand, and I’m learning a lot every day.”

Volcy only returned one punt in 2012 with the Avengers, but he led the team with nine kickoff returns for 236 yards – an average of 26 yards per return.

Volcy’s compact stature and quickness with the ball could prove invaluable in returning punts this season for the Tiger-Cats.

But Volcy has strong competition from a handful of players. Lamar, who is also in the mix at tailback, is cut from the same mould as Volcy: small, speedy, and agile. Posting a 4.3 second forty yard dash at the University of South Florida’s pro day in 2012, Lamar certainly has that breakaway speed required as a returner.

Lamar prepared for this opportunity leading up to his flight north to Hamilton.

“Every day I’d catch fifty punts while I was at home preparing for (Ticats) camp, and I’ve been getting better and better,” said Lamar.

The players have shared the vast majority of the punt returns in camp, and at this point it appears that one (or both) is primed to be fielding punts later this week in the Ticats first preseason game in Montreal.

Whether they will find a more permanent role as a positional player remains to be seen, but both players would be thankful for whatever role they were offered with the Ticats.

“I’m not selfish at all,” said Volcy regarding the possibility of being a return specialist this season. “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do that. Anything I can do to make the team better.”

His sentiments were echoed closely by Lamar. “Everybody has their specific role, and whatever role I need to play to help the team, that’s what I’ll do.”