CAN a veteran team lead the Carabins back into the mix only a few years removed from an undefeated regular season?
WILL Montreal be able to continue their 3rd quarter dominance that saw them outscore opponents 101-18 in that frame last year?
IS the offence going to keep its momentum going despite the loss of leading rusher Hantz Boursiquot?
2008 recap and record — (5-3, 4th). Montreal limited opponents to under 18 points per game last year, but ultimately losses to the three teams that finished ahead of them – Laval, Concordia and Sherbrooke – cemented their fate and left them to squeak in the playoffs. The loss to Concordia only because of a last-play miracle pass play, so Montreal was more talented then their record may indicate.
Setting up '09 — The Carabins are a veteran group returning, and are poised to get back into the Quebec conference elite. Anything less than a playoff win will be a disappointing season for them. Marc-Olivier Brouillette will return for his fourth season at the head of the UdeM offence. Brouillette threw for just under 1700 yards last year with 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. The only significant playmaker missing from last year’s team is Boursiquot who ran for 843 yards and six touchdowns. Replacing him will be any or all of rookie Rotrand Sene or second-year backs Patrick Jean-Marie and Kevin Kwateng.
Defensively, Hamid Mahmouti is back for his fourth year. Mahmouti had six interceptions and was also the team’s top returner from a year ago. He’s joined by a bunch of veterans including leading tackler Joash Gesse. The team does have to fill a couple of spots on the defensive line with the departure at least one, and potentially two, starters.
Returning starters — 9 offence, 8 defence
Stepping out (graduated players) — RB Hantz Boursiquot, DB Raymond Hall, WR Michael Shousha, DL Nickolas Morin-Soucy
Stepping up — RB Rotrand Sene, WR Mohamed Samir Skakni, OL Simon Legare, OL Alexis Rousseau-Saine, K/P Benjamin Boucher-Fassett
Future reference — Sene as mentioned is Montreal’s best recruit and was a CEGEP all-star in 2006 and 2008. Boucher-Fassett was a CEGEP all-star in 2007 and 2008.
Coach & coordinators — Marc Santerre is back for his fourth season as head coach. Pat Gregory and Denis Touchette return as offensive and defensive coordinators respectively and Spiro Feradouros is in charge of special teams.
Stadium/atmosphere — CEPSUM’s field may be lacking aesthetically – sometimes the lines are hard to read – but the facility is solid. The Carabins usually average around 4,000 fans per game and they aren’t of the quiet variety. You get a mixed bag of students and fans which adds to the atmosphere.
Alumni in CFL — None active
From Last Year’s season preview — “Montréal's taken a few steps back since the start of '06. The defence is good enough that it will keep them in games, or at least keep scores respectable, and the offence is bound to improve. Both they and cross-town rival Concordia seem to be in the biggest state of flux in the conference, but both were playing at a high level not so long ago.”
Stock up or stock down — Up. In the cycle of young teams and veteran teams, this Montreal team is a veteran group and is a good a group as any for Montreal to make a run this year.
Schedule (all times Eastern)
Thursday Sept 3 vs McGill 7:00pm
Sunday Sept 13 @ Concordia 4:30pm
Saturday Sept 19 @ Laval 1:00pm
Saturday Sept 26 vs Acadia 1:00pm
Sunday Oct 4 vs Laval 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 17 @ Sherbrooke 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 24 @ Bishop’s 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 31 vs Sherbrooke 1:00pm