Since switching to offensive tackle from defensive lineman, Chris Van Zeyl says the biggest adjustment has been developing patience, learning how to step back after a life of always rushing forward.

Good thing since the 26-year-old from Fonthill, near St. Catharines, has had to bide his time during his first full season with the Toronto Argonauts, understanding his new position and waiting for his chance to play.

Van Zeyl, who replaced injured tackle Brian Ramsay early in last Friday’s 22-19 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, will now get his first career start Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Rogers Centre.

“It feels great. I’m excited to get the opportunity,” the McMaster University product said after practice yesterday in Mississauga. “It’s unfortunate it’s come in the circumstances that it has, but I’m glad to be in a position where I can step in and actually contribute to the team.”

While the starting offensive line has surrendered a league-worst 48 sacks on the season, Argos head coach Bart Andrus said he’s confident in Van Zeyl, especially after the way he played coming off the bench last week.

“He came in and did a great job,” Andrus said. “He was prepared. He executed very well.
“It’s not an easy thing to do. That’s all about being a pro and that certainly showed through for him.”

Ramsay, who hurt his knee, and offensive guard Jeff Keeping, who injured his shoulder on the same play, were awaiting tests yesterday, but Andrus expects them to miss at least this week’s game.

With them down, the Argos announced the signing of Canadian offensive linemen Scott Evans and Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge to the team’s practice roster.

Van Zeyl, who was drafted by Montreal in 2007, moved to the other side of the ball at training camp with the Alouettes in the summer of last year. He signed to the Argos practice roster late last season.