|Brett Lauther on Wednesday|
Kicker Brett Lauther was the focus of the post-practice media session. The 27-year old kicker from Truro, NS is creating quite a buzz in the Rider Nation, with a 92.9% success rate on field goals in his sophomore season. That lofty number is second only to rookie Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward's mind-bending 97.6% success rate.
And this past Saturday night in Toronto, Lauther provided the winning points in a 30-29 victory over the Argonauts with a 56-yard field goal with just 1:14 remaining. The kick matched his season-long for successful field goals.
Lauther was asked what was on his mind as he lined up that 3-pointer at windy BMO Field.
"Not much. Just tried to keep it the same," Lauther shrugged on Wednesday. "Whether it's the first kick of the game or the last kick of the game, just not trying to change anything. But I'm not looking back at that. I'm already looking ahead to Montreal and trying to get better every week."
Lauther said the pressure of a kick like that doesn't get to him as he gets more experience.
"Maybe in the past," Lauther admitted. "But the last few years I knew what it takes to be a kicker in this league, mentally and physically. I didn't know the score was that close until I came off (the field). I try not to look at the score too much, or what yard line. I just try to keep everything the same."
Lauther's story is gaining momentum, perhaps similar to the infamous Vince Papale story in the movie Invincible. All that's missing is a game-winning, clutch kick in the playoffs or this year's Grey Cup.
Lauther was drafted in 2013 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but he's bounced around the CFL since with stops in Toronto, Edmonton and three times with Saskatchewan before he finally found a football home.
The 5'11", St. Mary's University product says he drew inspiration from plenty around him to get this far.
"A lot of things," Lauther said. "Family, friends, working hard and just not giving up or listening to what other people have to say about me."
Lauther said earlier this season that he's "living a dream" with the Riders but also knows he's providing inspiration to many who watch him on a weekly basis with the Green & White.
"I have a young sister back home who's 10 years old so I'm just trying to be a good role model for her and other kids in the community," Lauther said. "I remember growing up with the local Junior A hockey team in town and how cool it was going to the rink, getting pounds or a hockey stick from them.
"To think I'm doing that now for kids, it seems weird for me, but any way I can help inspire kids to not give up on their dreams or not listen to what other people have to say, that's what I'm trying to do."
In between kicking jobs in the CFL, Lauther hustled to make ends meet back in the Maritimes.
"Odd jobs," Lauther smiled. "I worked with my cousin's construction and roofing company. I worked at Jack Astor's serving, bartending, just a lot of stuff that gave me time to train. All my bosses were awesome giving time off to do what I needed to do in case I got a call."
So now you know that every time Lauther lines up a kick for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, he has an army of support behind him back home. However perhaps just as importantly, Lauther knows he has the confidence of his Head Coach & GM, Chris Jones.
"He's the first one that gave me a shot out of the gate to start a season," Lauther concluded. "To have someone like Coach Jones who's won Grey Cups and has a resume like his, to let me go out and kick kicks that I feel like I can make, it feels pretty good."
For his part, Jones downplayed Lauther's heroics saying he's just doing his job.
"It's what kickers get paid to do," Jones laughed on Wednesday. "They don't have to do all this running around and hit people, but when it comes time in very critical situations to score points, 80-90% of the time, they're scoring points. That's what they get paid to do."
NOTES: Riders leading receiver Naaman Roosevelt was ruled out for Sunday's game in Montreal due to an injury sustained in the Toronto game. Jones said the injury is not believed to be long term. ... Veteran CFL receiver Kenny Shaw is expected to take Roosevelt's spot on the roster. ... Jones said receiver Caleb Holley is still not ready to return from an injury he sustained in the first half of the season.