Thursdays with coaches: Western, Queen's could be a shootout; Windsor hopes it still has a shot

  • Something to keep in mind about last season's Western-Queen's game, which the Golden Gaels won 43-16 ... it was only an eight-point margin late in the first half before an Alex Daprato 96-yard INT return and a fumble inside the Mustangs 10-yard line gave Queen's 14 points.

    Western's Nathan Riva was still getting up to speed then as a rookie in his fifth CIS game.

  • Windsor's Mike Morencie won the meta-free-for-all: "There's a lot of pressure on us, there's a pulse, maybe not a discernible pulse but there's a pulse," he said while discussing the 2-4 Lancers Saturday night matchup vs. No. 10 McMaster. "We're playing for our lives and practice has reflected that this week."

  • McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek noted Toronto "really smacked us in the mouth and kept us off our game for four quarters" in their Oct. 8 game. U of T is getting better, but you might see how people would wonder about a team which struggled with the Varsity Blues being ranked.

  • Guelph coach Kyle Walters' spouse gave birth to a baby girl Wednesday, so he was not on the call. His counterpart this week, Laurier's Gary Jeffries, also had business to attend to.

    Congratulations to the Walters brood, by the way.

No. 5 Western's Greg Marshall and No. 4 Queen's Pat Sheahan (Saturday, 1 p.m., The Score)

Marshall, on prepping for Queen's: "Queen's is an outstanding team. They're very well-coached. Pat Sheahan and (defensive coordinator) Pat Tracey have been coaching this team a long time. When we face them, we have to go back years and years ago and see what we did. The kids understand that we're not going to win this just on coaching. We're going to win this on individual battles."

Sheahan, on slowing down Western: "The goal is pretty much the same, to keep their offence off the field has got to be Goal No. 1. The best direction to go is, we would would like Michael Faulds to watch a lot of this game rather than play in it."

Sheahan, on prepping for Western and Michael Faulds: "Western has a lot of weapons. They bring a lot of potential headaches. Faulds brings a special look and a special preparation package each time you play him. They've got a couple special runners (Nathan Riva and Da'Shawn Thomas), sometimes they're in the backfield. Western gives you a lot you have to defend. Their defence does a good job of slowing you down.

Marshall, on Western's defensive woes (81 points allowed vs. Guelph and McMaster): "Fortunately, I coach on the offensive side ... I know what Danny Brannagan can do, he's outstanding leader, outstanding quarterback, they have a lot of good receivers. We're not gonna shut them down completely ... I think the thing for us is to control the ball, and score some points."

On learning from last season's 43-16 at Kingston: "I'm a believer you have to learn from mistakes ... if look at that game, the Western defence played pretty well, you can't turn it over eight times, snap it over the punter's head."

On Faulds threatening the CIS passing record (he needs 578 yards): "Michael as been our leader on and off the field, he's played his best in the most important games, he's done a great job with a lot of receivers. I've told him, 'Mike, if you're going to do it, you're going to do it in Kingston against the best.' There's (121) yards that separates Michael from Danny."

Sheahan on Brannagan (who is 466 yards away from Matt Connell's record): "In the development of a quarterback, a much-used and overused metaphor that the game slows down over time. Dan is seeing the field, he's got good vision. Concepts that he might have struggled with are now making sense to him, he's always had the kind of arm that can attack any part of the field, he can make up for some mistakes with arm strength, seeing the field, throwing very well. He's the kind of threat we envisioned when we recruited him all those years ago."

On being the challenger facing the defending champion: "Motivation hasn't been a problem this week. They're the two-time conference defending champions, regardless of what the win-loss record in the regular season, there's still lots here that needs to be proved and our guys know it."

No. 10 McMaster's Stefan Ptaszek and Windsor's Mike Morencie

Ptaszek, on travelling down to Windsor: "This is the hardest road trip. Windsor is tough to play in their backyard. We're trying not to look past Saturday at 7 o'clock. We understand that if we win the next two games, we should get a home playoff game, regardless of how the head-to-head and point differential work out."

On coming back to earth after beating Western: "We played very, very average last week. U of T really smacked us in the mouth and kept us off our game for four quarters. We haven't played our kind of football since the Western game and that's going on three weeks. We want to get to the post-season playing very, very well and live four or five more weeks. We're playing a Windsor team that's backed into a corner and that's the most dangerous kind of team."

On preparing for Windsor (2-4): The return of Sam Malian is huge. Their offence has had two identities, a kind of chuck-it passing offence and a two-back running game. We don't know what one we're going to see with Sam in there. On the defensive side, this is one of the best cover secondaries. They press your receivers. Our receivers have been working all week. They've done a wonderful job in spurts. They shut down Queen's pretty good, (Dan) Brannagan got to them late in the game (throwing for 401 yards)

Morencie, on preparing for McMaster (4-2): "That's a real well-coached team. Everyone jumps out at you, not so much how skilled they are as how well they're coached. The quarterback (Kyle) Quinlan, with his speed, if he gets on the edge, we're in trouble. Receiver (Kevin) D'Hollander, he's very impressive ... fundamentally, this may be the best-coached team in the OUA."

On getting down 33-0 to Laurier on Oct. 10: "We didn't come out flat, we came out too jacked up. That led to a lot of penalties early on. We had them second-and-6 and turned it into third-and-1, they converted and ended up scoring. As a coach, it's that fine line between getting them fired up and coming out casual. Other weeks, we've gone with a more more laid-back approach and we came out played and well.

On still being alive for the playoffs. "This especially important. Not playing well in the first half at Laurier, we left ourselves one less bullet in the chamber for making the playoffs. There's a lot of pressure on us, there's a pulse, maybe not a discernible pulse but there's a pulse ... We're playing for our lives and practice has reflected that this week."

On Malian's 276-yard passing day vs. Laurier: "Sam knocked some of the rust off, ran around, completed passes to nine different receivers. Everyone feels more confident when Sam is at quarterback, the offensive line, the receivers, there's more energy ... games 2-5, he played six minutes against Waterloo, so he hadn't faced many live bullets. He was running around, making plays on the go, finding his second and third read."

Ottawa's Denis Piché and York's Mike McLean:

Piché, asked to compare Bradley Sinopoli (8.6 yards per pass, 10.2 per run) with former Gee-Gees dual-threat QBs Phill Côté and David Azzi (who later moved to receiver): "For David, he was a great athlete who could throw the ball. As far as Phill Côté, Phill was an outstanding quarterback who at first was a great athlete who could throw the ball. I think Bradley can be compared a little bit to Phill, except he's got an arm that can be compared to Josh Sacobie, who was the strongest that I've seen here. If you got a combination of Phill and Josh, you would get Bradley."

On being 1-2 at home vs. 3-0 on the road: "It's a lot of things. There's a little less pressure away from home, you have the team being together, eating dinner, eating breakfast. I would like to think we played outstanding teams (Western and Queen's) at home with our young squad and we were just not ready. We progressed and the schedule has been what it's been.

On Ottawa's improvement: "A young team is synonymous with inconsistency, we're been more consistent on all three sides of the football. We still have to tidy up a few things, that's why we have regular season to get ready to the playoffs."

McLean, on sophomore QB Nick Coutu's sometimes halting progress: "A lot of that isn't on Nick. We have some receivers running the wrong route, some protections breaking down. Sometimes we're running out of fingers to fill the holes in the dike. Nick is doing some things ... I'd like to see him hit some underneath stuff. Having Johnny Peyton and Will Austin and some deep threats who can stretch it, he likes to throw that deep ball. Johnny Peyton's catches have been world-class, even against Western when he was double-covered, and he's gained a lot of confidence."

Waterloo's Dennis McPhee and U of T's Greg DeLaval

McPhee, on coming in 1-5 but arguably being more competitive: "There is more parity in the league now. We haven't shown, on a personal front, an ability to play against the teams who are deemed to be in the top four or five. We don't treat those teams any differently.

On the similarities between the Warriors and Varsity Blues: "Putting four quarters together when you have a young squad is difficult. The kids have to go through adversity in an effort to grow from them. Both teams are like carbon copies. We go after the same type of kids. We have similar (coaching) staffs. ... they (Toronto) are going to grow as the year

On being the team U of T broke its maiden against: "It was a game that ended their (49-game) losing streak. It put an asterisk in the history book as far as our program is concerned. Our programs are comparable. They're both young football teams, both undersized a little bit physically, but the kids on both squads play very hard. The coaches I speak to say when they play U of T, they know they're going to be in a game, they come here, they know they're going to be in a game. The revenge factor, that was over when the game ended last year."

DeLaval, on slowly changing the culture (refer back to Ptaszek's comment): We're undersized. Every team we play against, they're older than us and they're bigger than us. Our kids know that's the only way we can play, we have to try to outwork people."
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1 comment:

  1. The revenge factor, that was over when the game ended last year

    Nobody believes this, right? Varsity athletes in other sports here still haven't gotten over that loss. There isn't a football player alive, who lost to Toronto last year, who won't be thinking about revenge this week.