HOW will McGill’s improved running back depth – including former Concordia back Andrew Hamilton – affect the team’s offence now without quarterback Matt Connell.
CAN a pair of transfer defensive backs help improve McGill’s running defence?
WILL McGill win a game this season?
2008 recap and record — (0-8, 6th). McGill would much rather look forward at improving and their rebuilding than looking back at last season that saw them finish winless and giving up over 50 points per game. Connell set records in defeat last year, but now he is on the sidelines as an assistant for the Redmen. They were outscored by an average of 38 points per game, and really couldn’t get any worse.
Setting up '09 — McGill and head coach Sonny Wolfe are set to rebuild not only their team, but their game plan. With Connell and receiver Erik Galas out, the Redmen are forced to change their offensive game plan, and they are looking to continue rebuilding on both sides of the ball. Sophomore Ryne Bondy is the favourite to take over for Connell but freshman Jonathan Collin is expected to challenge Bondy. At running back, McGill has five players vying for playing time, senior Chris Hayes and sophomore Taylor Krupowski are returning while newcomers Hamilton, Lenn Gittens and Galen Flaherty will also provide depth to the position.
On defence, McGill is returning 10 starters, a testament to how young they were last year. However, they are looking at three newcomers to step in right away. Moe Sidibe and Junior Bishop will improve the Redmen defence right away. Both may be familiar names. Both were former Quebec conference all stars with the Concordia Stingers, the former was named an all-Canadian. The third newcomer expected to contribute is Anie-Ebeit Edem from Champlain College. Two-time league all-star Anthony Lukca is the biggest name returning.
Returning starters — 8 offence, 10 defence
Stepping out (graduated players) — QB Matt Connell, HB David Friedman, WR Erik Galas, WR Tim Kraemer
Stepping up — QB Jonathan Collin, HB Lenn Gittens, HB Galen Flaherty, LB Anie-Ebeit Edem
Future reference — WR Guillaume Laflamme had 31 catches and 6 TD last year wih CEGEP Trois-Rivieres. LB Jake McArdle is a recruit coming from Vermont where he was an all-state offensive lineman and played in the Vermont Senior Bowl.
Coach & coordinators — Wolfe returns for his third year as Redmen head coach and second as offensive coordinator. Clint Uttley returns for his second year as defensive coordinator. He was the linebackers coach previous to his appointment as leader of the defence. Uttley was also previously the defensive coordinator at Acadia. Interesting addition to the McGill coaching staff is two-time President’s trophy winner as CIS defensive MVP Pat Donovan, formerly of Concordia.
Enrollment — 34,208 (7,635 graduate)
Stadium/atmosphere — McGill’s stadium, Percival Molson stadium, is one of the best in the CIS, if not the Quebec conference. However, the number of seats that is used for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes is way too much for McGill which leaves the atmosphere underwhelming. That may change with a change in the success of he program, but in Montreal, it may not be a factor at all to get more people in the stadium.
Alumni in CFL — BC slotback Greg Hetherington, Calgary DT Randy Chevrier, NFL free-agent LS JP Darche
From Last Year’s season preview — "It stands to reason that all the youth on defence and along the offensive line, where three starters graduated, will make it hard for McGill to keep it together for four quarters. The schedule maker also didn't do them any favours, as they travel to Saint Mary's for a cross-over game on top of having Laval as a home-and-home opponent. No one should ever want to wish back-to-back winless seasons on a group of players, so keep McGill in your thoughts.”
Stock up or stock down — Up. Seriously, back-to-back winless seasons and being outscored on average 51-16 last year, can it actually go down?
Schedule (all times Eastern)
Thursday Sept 3 @ Montreal 7:00pm
Friday Sept 11 vs Sherbrooke 7:00pm
Friday Sept 18 vs Bishop’s 7:00pm
Saturday Sept 26 @ Mount Allison 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 3 @ Bishop’s 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 17 vs Saint Mary’s 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 24 @ Concordia (SRC) 1:00pm
Saturday Oct 31 vs Laval 1:00pm