IS this the year Sherbrooke beats Laval and Concordia – the teams responsible for all of their losses a year ago?
CAN the Vert et Or compete even with the losses of several key players on both sides of the ball?
WHEN will Andre Bolduc’s program take that next step?
2008 recap and record — (5-3, 3rd). Sherbrooke had their best season in their young program last year, challenging for a home playoff game, and getting off to a 5-1 start. Unfortunately, they then ran into Laval and Concordia the last two games of the season and scored six points combined before dropping a third straight game in the QUFL semi-final to Concordia.
Setting up '09 — J.P Shoiry and Charles Saint-Martin are back at quarterback and Pascal Fils, the team’s leading rusher is back again as well. However, Joseph Mroue, and Alain Dorval are moving on which doesn’t seem like much, but this team was a team that struggled to replace Samuel Giguere last year in the receiving corps.
Defensively, Sherbrooke loses defensive back Sebastien Jalbert and linebacker David Vaillancourt who accounted for half of the team’s four interceptions a year ago. A lot of the pressure will go to Vincent Auger who led the team in tackles (41.5) and interceptions (2) a year ago. Looking to improve that secondary, the team expects rookie Olivier Dauphinais to challenge for a starting job.
Returning starters — 8 offence, 9 defence
Stepping out (graduated players) — HB Joseph Mroue, SB Alain Dorval, OL Mathieu Lefaivre, DB Sebastien Jalbert, LB David Vaillancourt
Stepping up — HB Gabriel Bernard-Perron, FB Vincent Carriere-Garwood, DB Olivier Dauphinais, WR Gabriel Goulet
Future reference — Bernard-Perron was a three-time CEGEP AA all-star. Offensive line prospects Christopher Belley-Rosa, Kevin Croft and Marc Olivier-Plante were all CEGEP all-stars and Croft was a member of the 2008 Team Quebec team that won the Canada Cup.
Coach & coordinators — Bolduc is back for his third season as head coach. The offensive coordinator is David Lessard and Marc Loranger is the defensive coordinator. Jean-Vincent Posy-Audette controls the special teams.
Enrolment — 36,000
Stadium/atmosphere — The Stade is where you’ll find the second highest average attendance in the Q outside of Laval. They averaged a very respectable over 7,000 fans to the games last year and provide a good atmosphere but not as good as their cross-town rivals from Bishop’s. That’s right. I’m adding fuel to the fire.
Alumni in CFL — Winnipeg LB Pierre-Luc Labbe, Indianapolis Colts WR Samuel Giguere
From Last Year’s season preview — “The most out-on-a-limb prediction for the QUFL that seems remotely plausible is to say that, yes, Sherbrooke will make its first Dunsmore Cup appearance on Nov. 8 against the Rouge et Or at the den of decibels, PEPS Stadium. The schedule sets up very well for them; a split with Bishop's and a win at Concordia in the finale could make a 6-2 finish possible. In the worst-case scenario, they're a 4-4 team in a very tight conference.”
Stock up or stock down — Up. Sherbrooke is coming off of their best season yet, and the stock for the program is on the rise. However, they are still behind Laval and Concordia and will be in tough against Montreal this year. The Quebec conference is tight, but at least they are heading in the right direction.
Schedule (all times Eastern)
Friday Sept 4 vs Bishop’s 7:00pm
Friday Sept 11 @ McGill 7:00pm
Saturday Sept 19 vs Concordia 7:00pm
Saturday Sept 26 @ Saint Mary’s 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 3 @ Concordia (SRC) 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 17 vs Montreal (SRC) 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 24 vs Laval 4:00pm
Saturday Oct 31 @ Montreal (SRC) 1:00pm