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Burke says Renaud has proved he should be Bomber punter

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The Canadian Press
6/14/2013 4:44:26 PM
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WINNIPEG -- The question mark over Mike Renaud's head has been removed and he will keep his job as punter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season.

"Mike's really performed well and we didn't see anybody beating him out," coach Tim Burke said Friday, after the team released two of the three prospects they brought in to challenge for the position.

Brett Cameron, the son of Bomber punting legend Bob Cameron, and Aussie rules footballer Tim Hutchison were both let go.

The Bombers held onto Billy Pavlopoulos, the former UBC Thunderbirds kicker they picked up in the 2013 CFL draft.

"We feel Billy's probably the next best guy and so we'll see how he does the rest of training camp and see if he's a guy we're going to want to put on the practice roster."

Renaud, starting his fifth season with the team and in the CFL, says he feels he has met the challenge.

"I feel like I'm probably having the best camp I've ever had," he said after practice Friday.

"I don't know whether that's the competition but I trained really hard and I'm healthy and I just want to do the best I've ever done and that's where my focus is at."

Cameron leaves camp after scoring his first CFL points in Wednesday's pre-season game, when he kicked a 37-yard field goal in the Bombers 24-6 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

Burke says he feels Cameron could have a future in the CFL but he must work on his technique.

Renaud, meanwhile, looked a lot safer after Wednesday's exhibition game when he averaged just over 44 yards with his punts.

Burke also says he is getting closer to a decision on which of his three backups will move to the No. 2 spot behind starter Buck Pierce and he expects it to be sorted out before the regular season starts.

"This second game all three guys behind Buck will be playing," said Burke.

"I mean I have an opinion of where we are now that I don't want to share yet but I think it will start sorting itself out pretty good in the second game."

The Bombers play their second exhibition game in Hamilton next week and Justin Goltz has already been told he'll start and play the first half.

Goltz, the only backup the Bombers retained from last season, didn't spend a lot of time on the field Wednesday. Max Hall, one of the two newcomers in camp, saw most of the action, although Chase Clement also played more than Goltz.

Goltz knows this is his big chance to prove himself.

"I want to establish myself as a leader of a team," he said.

"Get a chance to go out there . . . a starter for the first time in the CFL. So that's a big deal for me."

Although he's entering his fourth season with the Bombers, Goltz has always played third fiddle to the other two backups cut by the Bombers during the off-season -- Alex Brink and Joey Elliott.

Pierce, who won't be playing at all in Hamilton, ran only three series Wednesday, failed to complete a pass and almost got sacked before he was yanked. Keeping him healthy is one of the top priorities of the Bombers this season.

He says he also got a little talking to from offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton for running the ball on his first play.

"He said, 'Buck, what are you doing? That's the first play of the pre-season and we're doing everything to protect you and you're doing that?"'

Pierce said he apologized.

On Friday, the team also released import linebacker Chad Faulcon, import defensive lineman Marcus Hyde, import defensive back Sam Pope and non-import defensive back Jawann Westerman, who was signed late last season and placed on the practice roster.

Tim Burke (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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