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Long snapper Hus wants to make a name at camp ..
• By Joe Lyons
A rookie free agent long snapper with the Rams, Hus plays a position where anonymity is considered a plus. After all, the only time you hear the long snapper’s name is after an errant snap.
At the same time, Hus is a 23-year-old Canadian looking to make a name for himself in the National Football League.
So the Saskatoon native put together a YouTube video.
“It was just something my brother and I did when we had a free afternoon,’’ Hus said of his trick-shot snapping video that has attracted nearly 12,000 views. “We had a blast putting it together.’’
The 21-second video features Hus knocking a cup off his brother’s head with a snap and launching snaps from the garage roof into a trash can in the middle of the street, into the rear window of a slow-moving car, through the rear window of a stationary car and off the cross bar and through the uprights from about 20 yards.
“I don’t know that it had anything to do with me getting seen or getting signed, but it probably didn’t hurt,’’ he said. “If nothing else, maybe it helps me stand out from the pack.’’
When asked about the video during the Rams’ rookie minicamp, head coach Jeff Fisher said he had not watched it.
“I have not got to that point of the research yet,’’ he said, laughing. “Someone told me (Hus) had 25 tackles or something like that. He’s an athletic guy who can go down the field and make plays. Their (Canadian) field is a little bigger so he might be better in space.’’
Hus, who stands 6 feet 1 and weighs 232 pounds, signed with the Rams shortly after the 2013 NFL draft. He and the rest of the team’s rookies are in the final week of organized team activities. When training camp opens July 21, Hus will continue his challenge of third-year pro and starter Jake McQuaide.
McQuaide, a former walk-on at Ohio State, had 139 consecutive clean snaps last season and has a streak of 289 consecutive clean snaps as a pro.
“Jake’s obviously very good and he’s been nothing but helpful to me during OTAs,’’ Hus said. “It’s a competition, but it’s not personal. We’re here to do a job and it’ll be up to the coaches to decide who gets to stay.
“I just want to do all I can to make the most of the opportunity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me and all I want to do is go out and snap the best I can.’’
Looking to join current Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, ex-Saints running back Rueben Mayes and former Giants’ defensive tackle Arnie Weinmeister as the only Saskatchewan-born players to compete in the NFL, Hus turned to football when most of his buddies were playing hockey.
“People ask me all the time, but I never played hockey,’’ he said. “For some reason I just seemed to be drawn toward football.’’
He was a sophomore linebacker at St. Joseph’s High in Saskatoon when a coach introduced him to long snapping.
“He talked about it being a specialized skill and how the guys who can master it can really have a long and successful career,’’ Hus said. “I gave it a try, had a little bit of success and then really started taking it more and more seriously. It’s become my passion.’’
Hus played the last three seasons for the University of Regina Rams and was voted their special teams player of the year last fall. Over the last few years, he has also worked with Gary Zauner, a longtime college and pro special teams coach who specializes in working with kickers, punters and long snappers.
“I’ve done one-on-one sessions, camps and combines with Coach Zauner,’’ Hus said. “He’s a guy who really stresses the finer points of special-teams play and he helped get me the exposure that led me to hooking up with the Rams.’’
Zauner, the first full-time special teams coach in college football, spent 11 years at that level and another 14 in the NFL, coaching with the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals. He began his specialized training in Arizona in 2008.
“I wanted to make sure the specialists weren’t slipping through the cracks of the free agency system,’’ Zauner said. “And Jorgen Hus is a perfect example of that. Playing up in Canada, what chance does this kid have of being seen or scouted? But by taking part in our program and working extremely hard, he got a chance to be scouted and eventually signed by the Rams.’’
Zauner continued: “I’ve been working with Jorgen for a few years and he impressed me with the way he works. He’s an excellent athlete with speed to make plays down the field. He’s in a tough spot, trying to beat out the Rams’ starter, but he just has to focus on doing his best. You never know what can happen — guys get hurt, teams decide to make changes — so when you get a chance, you have to try to make the most of it.’’
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