CIS Countdown 2010: Bishop's Gaiters

In 50 words or less: You’d think the Gaiters would be hard pressed to bring back veterans with the big-name losses of Shawn Gore and Steven Turner. But led by fifth year QB Jesse Andrews and 10 returning starters on defence, the Gaiters are poised to return to the postseason.

Burning questions:

HOW will Benoit Groulx make the adjustment to coaching as Bishop’s offensive coordinator?

WHICH young receivers will Andrews go to after losing the offence’s biggest playmakers?

WHAT will the 10 returning starters bring to the table for a veteran Gaiter defence?

2009 recap: 4-4, third place. Bishop’s overcame a 1-4 start to win their last three games against St. FX who was unbeaten at the time, Montreal who was ranked No. 4 at the time and Concordia in a come-from-behind barnburner to end up making the playoffs and finishing in third spot. They couldn’t beat Montreal in the semi-final but were missing Andrews.

Departures: WR Steven Turner, WR Shawn Gore, DE Nick Rigg, LB Wesley Rundle

Arrivals: WR Tristan Bailey, DE Jean-Rene Junior Pierre (transfer from Sherbrooke), DL Jean-Christophe Gagnon

Keep an eye on: WR Bailey. He has a chance to make an impact as a freshman and was named a Regional all-star in 2008 as a high schooler in Ottawa. He does have some spots to climb on the depth chart but could continue in the Gaiters' strong receiving pedigree soon.

Coach & coordinators: Leroy Blugh has used strong recruiting to build a lot of depth at Bishop’s and take this team back to the top of the Quebec conference.

The offensive coordinator is no stranger to the top of the conference. Benoit Groulx, the former Laval quarterback took the job and there is no questioning his knowledge of the game. His adjustment to coaching will be very fun to watch.

Ray Gagnon leads the defensive side of the ball in his fourth year as defensive coordinator. He has a veteran group to work with and has been doing a very good job as recruiting coordinator as well.

Off-the-field factors: Bishop’s has a territorial rivalry with Sherbrooke as they are both vying for similar recruits. They also face the challenge (or reap the benefits) of being the only English school in the conference outside of Montreal. The fact that Blugh and Gagnon are able to get big time recruits that make impacts right away, as well as big name coaches like Groulx, is a testament to them off the field as they reap the benefits on it.

From last season's preview: “Losing Jamall Lee hurts, obviously, but maturing young talent may be enough to overcome that and give the Gaiters a chance to make the jump into the playoffs. If not this year, it won’t be too long.”

Stock up or stock down: Up. I thought Bishop’s would tread water last year, but they made a step forward. This year, they bring back a more experienced team and should repeat last year’s performance.

Schedule: (all times Eastern)
Saturday Sept 4 7:00 vs Concordia
Saturday Sept 11 1:00 @ McGill
Saturday Sept 18 vs Acadia (homecoming)
Sunday Sept 25 1:00 @ Concordia
Saturday Oct 2 1:00 vs Montreal
Friday Oct 8 7:00 @ Sherbrooke
Sunday Oct 17 1:00 @ Laval
Saturday Oct 23 1:00 vs Sherbrooke
Saturday Oct 30 1:00 @ Montreal
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