Thursday with coaches: Brannagan good to go, Malian iffy

Promise you, next week we get the hot audio ... some highlights of the OUA football coaches' conference call with Queen's Pat Sheahan, Ottawa's Denis Piché, Western's Greg Marshall, Windsor's Mike Morencie, McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek, York's Mike McLean and Laurier's Gary Jeffries.

Marshall probably had the best quote, about his QB, Michael Faulds' aggressive nature: "He takes more hits than I'd like. He'll hold the ball, hold the ball, wait for a receiver to come open. I'll always tell him, 'you should go out of bounds, you should slide more.' I've never seen him slide. I'll talk to him about it, but once the game starts, he's pretty uptight, he's fired up emotionally, usually it takes a few completions to get him into a groove."

Queen's coach Pat Sheahan and Ottawa coach Denis Piché (1 p.m. Saturday, SSN Canada)

Sheahan on QB Dan Brannagan, post-concussion:
"He's been checked out and he's good to go ... any time you take a big hit like that, there has to be a gestational period. He's scheduled to start.

Sheahan on Ottawa's Jordan Wilson-Ross, who has an OUA-most 358 yards (10.8 per carry): "We have followed his progress. He's been very good as a community league player, very gifted athlete, in both games (this season) he did a 360 move down near the goal line. He's got a reckless quality, and he's going to be tough to stop, especially on Ottawa's artificial surface. Everybody who's fast is a little bit quicker on the turf, because it helps with making quick cuts ... there will be a significant challenge to try to shut him down."

Piché on JWR: "He has amazing vision, he's not the biggest guy, but he's fast."

Piché on Queen's run defence, which has kept McMaster's Jordan Kozina (12 rushes, 40 yards) and Guelph's Nick Fitzgibbon (8-24) below 50 yards: "If there's one thing that Queen's does, it's force you to prepare because they will prepare very well. They put athletes in position to make plays.

"We certainly believe we can (win the battle up front). At the end of the day, you need to win some one-on-ones, it's going to be a physical battle. I might be in a better position to answer that question around 4 o'clock on Saturday."

Sheahan on his team's leading rusher, Jimmy Therrien (258 yards, 5.4 avg.): "Jimmy has been an outstanding special teams guy for the past couple years, he's been waiting his turn. He can run, he can catch, he probably doesn't have the burst that a couple of backs in our league have, but for what we do, he fits the scheme perfectly."

Piché on Ottawa reducing its penalties (33 for 276 yards the first two weeks): "It has to come from within. It's a little bit of overaggression and youth. I think the captains have addressed it. The boys wanted to deal with it themselves and I trust them. The guys who took stupid penalties addressed the team."

Laurier's Gary Jeffries (whose team hosts Waterloo in the University Rush game, 1 p.m. Saturday on The Score):

"We certainly expect a full house, where the teams are in the standings, you can throw that out, they want to be the best on University Avenue."

On the offence (which came within 21 seconds of being bageled by Western): "We have to be more precise, run better routes and have our good players be our good players. Flat-out, we must be better. That's not a hope, that's an expectation.

"Certainly panic has not set in. We believe in what we're doing offensively. The biggest percentage is we just have to execute and do what we do, we just have to do it better."

Western's Greg Marshall and Windsor's Mike Morencie:

Marshall, comparing Hec Crighton-candidate Michael Faulds with 2001 Hec winner Ben Chapdelaine, whom he coached at Mac:
"Ben was emotionally level, he not as strong an arm as Mike has, but he make great decision, pocket passer. Mike can run, take off the ball. Sometimes he plays the QB position like a linebacker."

On Faulds' aggressiveness: "It does bother me, sometimes. He takes more hits than I'd like. He'll hold the ball, hold the ball, wait for a receiver to come open. I'll always tell him, 'you should go out of bounds, you should slide more.' I've never seen him slide. I'll talk to him about it, but once the game starts, he's pretty uptight, he's fired up emotionally, usually it takes a few completions to get him into a groove. Of course, what once he gets going he's fine. In the past two Yates Cups, took control in the second half."

On Western having allowed just 24 points the first two games while starting several first- and second-year players on defence: "One of the things that's helped us is we moved Craig Butler to free safety, he's like a quarterback on defence, he coers up for a lot of things."

"We had to keep the systems pretty simple at the start of the season. There were a lot of new faces. You can't move too quickly. They were roughed up a bit in Ottawa (542 total yards for the Gee-Gees), but did a good job vs. Wilfrid Laurier. We're getting Cory Watson back, a fifth-year defensive back, Adrian Kaiser, our will linebacker, has't played but a few plays in a game, credit our coaches prepared them v, v well.

Morencie on Windsor's efforts to run a more open offence: "Realistically, it hasn't changed. That was our whole focus during spring football and training camp, but we found we've been relying on the run to get us back in the games. With a big offensive line, we can play that style but it wasn't our intention coming into camp to be running the ball this much."

On QB Sam Malian's status for Saturday night: "It's day-to-day with Sam. We'll have a bit better indication after tonight. If not Sam, it will be Dan Carloni. If Dan's in there, it will be more conservative passing game. Our game plan will be dictated on our QB."

His biggest concern: "The depth on our defensive line. We're a little bit thin, can't afford any injuries."

McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek and York's Mike McLean

Ptaszek on the 8-7 loss to Queen's:
"On special teams, it was probably the best game we've had, 2-for-2 on field goals, we held (Queen's return ace) Jimmy Allin in check and we had two good returns on missed (Golden Gaels) field goals. Our young defensive secondary had a very good game. The aspect we've really focused on this week is the offence."

On the passing game's woes (Ryan Fantham threw just 28 times for 83 yards vs. Queen's): "Football's the ultimate team sport. The film showed a lot of guys doing a lot of good things and a couple breakdowns. Ryan shouldered a lot of the burden but it wasn't just one guy, it was the other 11 in that huddle. He's had a good week of practice, he's pedal to the metal, wants to get better whether he throws for 400 yards or 83."

McLean, on moving Jason Marshall to free safety from tailback: "He's got great speed, he's very physical, and in our style of offence, we're looking for more downhill runners than scatbacks who stretch the field east and west. He's got a lot of speed and range and the freedom to do a lot of things from the free safety position. Most safeties are hash-to-hash, he's sideline to sideline. It's also personal for Jason, with the 40 time he has, he's going to get a look from the CFL. It's harder to get that as a Canadian running back. Those two things kind of collided."

McLean on the 0-2 Lions' growing pains: "We're just taping things together right now, we have a lot of injuries. We're pretty decent across the board with the starting 24, but the number twos are nowhere near ready for prime time. We're kind of throwing them to the wolves, baptism by fire."

On the effects of the 3-month faculty strike at York last year: "We had five recruits turn down scholarship money to go somewhere else without any financial incentive. That's indicative of what happened at the school and the public perception. The only way to change that is the product on the field."

On the possibility of new football facilities (a hot topic with news about another GTA school's plans): "There's been a lot of political-speak, nothing definitive. It's a functional stadium with a grass field, which is easier on the body as the season goes along. We have decent enough facilities, we're not using it as an excuse."
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  1. To me, Sheahan insulted Wilson-Ross...calling him a "community league player"...

  2. Mr. Sheahan didn't call JWR that, though. He said it to indicate that Wilson-Ross was the kind of athlete who was on people's radar screens before he ultimately joined the Gee-Gees. He said Wilson-Ross has been (i.e., was) very good when he was a community league player.

    Sheahan also said JWR was a very gifted athlete and would pose a significant challenge to Queen's because of his ability to make quick cuts on the artificial surface. Pat would not malign an opposing player like that two days before a game.

    Some people who are involved in amateur football (OFC, QJFH, OVFL and such) do not like it being called "community football." I agree with that; perhaps that was not the best word for that brand of football, but it was not meant to slight the player.

  3. Actually I think he said 'community' where he could have said High school. I think it was actually a compliment since most CIS coaches consider Community Football a higher standard than just High School.