For most, handling short-yardage duties would seem like something you could pick up in a snap.
Bryant Moniz, who spent his college days in the NCAA Hawaii Rainbow Warriors’ run-and-shoot attack, is just making sure he can handle the snap, as he’s taken over the lead role in the Calgary Stampeders short-yardage package from backup Drew Tate over the past month.
“All the time,” Moniz grinned Sunday morning while talking about his experience handling shotgun snaps at Hawaii, which then continued during his rookie season in the gun-heavy CFL. “I maybe took like one or two snaps under centre. It’s definitely new, but it just comes with getting experience of repetition as anything else.”
The second-year quarterback has shown progression in his 15 months north of the border, so Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson decided he was ready for more responsibility.
It was exacerbated by the fact the Tate-led short-yardage group struggled early in the season thanks to offensive line woes.
“It wasn’t anything Drew did — we just felt like we’d like to use the young guy and let Bryant try and grow into that role,” Dickenson said. “He’s done a nice job.”
Short-yardage situations become even more important this time of year, as contenders start fine-tuning for the stretch-drive.
“It can win and lose you games, basically,” Dickenson said. “It’s been a tough, tough battle this year, and it just shows you how good the d-linemen are and how physical the game has gotten.”
Moniz, whose scrambling ability stands out, has heard that message loud and clear.
“Dickenson always harps on how big a short-yardage situation is, and he believes that, sometimes, games are won and lost on that,” Moniz said. “I take it very seriously, and I take pride in it. I don’t even want to be stopped — no matter what the distance is — third-and-one or third-and-two.”
Bryant Moniz has scored 4 touchdowns so far this season in short-yardage situations.