Boris Bede adds mentor role to his job description at Argonauts

They’re vying for the same job, but that hasn’t stopped veteran kicker Boris Bede from taking young Toshiki Sato under his wing at Toronto Argonauts training camp.

Six-foot-four, 225-pound Bede is entering his sixth season in the CFL, but first with Toronto after being acquired from the Montreal Alouettes in return for Canadian kicker Tyler Crapigna on February 13, 2020. The Argos have selected Japan’s Sato in the second round, 16th overall, in the 2021 CFL World Draft.

“I’ve been here for five or six years so I know the game,” Bede said. “I know how it’s played. I know what they expect from me.

“Sato is a really good guy, a technical guy. He’s a hard worker, he loves being in the field. He works well.”

Bede said he didn’t necessarily get the same treatment during his first CFL training camp with Montreal.

“When I arrived as a rookie … the welcome was not the warmest,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you, that was a little harsh.

“I always thought to myself if the competition was going to be the competition it has to be, then it has to be clean. I said (Sato), ‘I’m going to put all the keys in your hand and we’re gonna compete. ‘

“You don’t have to be mean to the guy and be a bad person. It’s not healthy and it’s not what I’m looking for. I teach him and show him how the game is. meant to be played because at the end of the day we want to be the best at what we do. ”

Bede is aware that he is the mentor of a player who could ultimately beat him for the job.

“I’m just here to try to impart wisdom and teach him how Canadian football is supposed to be played,” he said. So we compete to the point where whoever comes out the best gets the job. ”

Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie noticed his veteran kicker was playing a mentoring role at camp.

“Boris helps him (Sato), almost like a big brother,” Dinwiddie said. “They work well together.”

Bede is one step ahead of the competition in terms of professional experience. The 31-year-old spent his first five seasons in the CFL with Montreal (2015-19), where he managed all three kicking positions (field goal, punts and kickoffs).

Bede remains the league’s all-time kickoff leader (69.3 yards). He has also scored 141 of his 171 field goals (82.5%) and is averaging 44.2 career yards.

Dinwiddie said versatility was one of the main reasons the club re-signed Bede for a contract extension last December. Bede was due to become a free agent in February 2021.

“When we made the commitment with Boris, we did it knowing he could do all three (kicks) and we expect him to do all three,” Dinwiddie said. “It will help us, we are not going to have to dress two kickers.

“It’s a great situation for us.

Bede shared his college career between Tiffin University (2008-10) and Laval (2011-14). He has helped the Rouge et Or reach the Vanier Cup three times, winning twice.

Bede, from Toulon, France, would count as an import this season with Toronto. Bede said as he got more and more used to his new team, he admits he got nervous on Saturday when the Argos opened camp at the University of Guelph.

“For two years I haven’t been in a competitive environment,” he said. “So obviously you’re going back to those habits, getting those visual points where you’re going to aim for the ball… Rhythm, timing with it. your holder and the long-snapper on the plates.

“You just work on these little details, you really make things better every day and try to improve all the time.”

The CFL did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league kicks off a 14-game season on August 5, with Toronto starting the campaign on August 7 visiting the Calgary Stampeders.

The kicker is put a third of the equation on field goal attempts, but often bears the brunt of the blame for stray kicks. But so far Bede has said the transition to a new snapper (veteran Jake Reinhart) and incumbent (quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson) has gone smoothly.

“It changes a bit, but football remains (like) football wherever you go,” he said. “I am very happy.

“I’m surrounded by good coaches and players and we’re back on the pitch so I’m very excited.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 15, 2021.

12: 24ET 15-07-21

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