CIS Countdown 2010: Calgary Dinos

In 52 words or less: With the reigning Hec Crighton winner back and an abundance of offensive weapons, the Dinos are sure to be an exciting offensive squad again in 2010. The defending conference champs look poised for another successful season in what looks to be a two horse race for first between the Dinos and Saskatchewan.

Burning questions:

CAN the Dinos live up to the high expectations, and avenge their Vanier loss in '09?

IS it possible Erik Glavic can have a third Hec Crighton worthy season?

WILL anyone be able to stop the Dinos' dynamic offence?

2009 recap and record: (10-2) After going 7-1 during the regular season, the Dinos went 2-0 in Canada West playoff action including a thrilling 39-38 Hardy Cup win over the Saskatchewan Huskies to claim the conference crown. With the conference title in their back pockets, Calgary headed east to face Saint Mary's in the Uteck Bowl with a trip to the Vanier Cup on the line. With a 38-14 win in Halifax, Calgary downed the Halifax Huskies to advance to their first national title game since 1995.

In the Vanier Cup the Dinos met the Mitchell Bowl champion Queen's Golden Gaels, and after racing out to a 25-7 halftime lead looked poised to capture the program's fifth national title. Calgary wouldn't, however, emerge from PEPS in Laval as Vanier Cup champs that late November day, as the Gaels ripped off 26 unanswered points in the second half to hand the Dinos a deflating 33-31 loss in a game that slipped away from Calgary.

The Dinos were a dynamic offensive team in '09, leading Canada West in scoring offence averaging 39.5 points per game during the regular season – good for third in the nation behind Laval (41.6) and Western Ontario (41.9). Calgary was also second in the nation in total offence, averaging 576.8 yards per game during the regular season. Those impressive offensive stats were buoyed by a defence that surrendered the second fewest yards per game (367) during eight regular season games.

Departures: Deke Junior (QB), Taylor Altilio (REC), Andrew Obrecht (DL), Deji Oduwole (DL), Matt Grohn (DB), Chase Moore (DL)

Arrivals: Eric Dzwilewski (QB), Adam Ballingall (QB), Kiefer Olson (QB), Keaton Jones (RB), Braden Heffernan (REC), Milos Zivkovic (REC), Grant Potter (OL), Branden Stevens (OL), Andros Agathos (K), John Mark (K), Ian Shaw (DL), Mike Forzani (DL), Zack Agathos (LB), Chris Folk (LB), Craig Adamson (LB), Anthony DesLauriers (S), Doctor Cassama (DB)

Keep an eye on: Safety Anthony DesLauriers. A transfer from Simon Fraser, DesLauriers will be able to step in right away and contribute for head coach Blake Nill's team. An All-Canadian at SFU, DesLauriers is a big time recruit for the Dinos and their secondary that struggled at times last season. DesLauriers was a sixth round pick of the Toronto Argonauts in the 2009 CFL Draft, and should help a Dinos secondary that gave up 278.9 yards per game through the air during the regular season in '09 – second most in the conference, despite the Dinos' overall defensive strengths.

Coach and coordinators: Head coach Nill is entering his fifth season as the skipper of the Dinos football program, and has elevated Calgary from a 2-6 team in his first season at the helm to a Canada West power that competes on the national level. In addition to his head coaching duties, Nill will also take on the role as defensive coordinator for the Dinos after the departure of former d-coordinator John Stevens in February of this year. Offensive coordinator Greg Vavra is also entering his fifth season on Nill's coaching staff, and will once again have a full stable of offensive thoroughbreds to work with this season. Vavra played his collegiate ball at Calgary as QB, guiding the Dinos to the program's first Vanier Cup title in 1983, and took home the Hec Crighton.

From last season's preview: “It is hard to go up from a Hardy Cup, but the Dinos are hoping to do exactly that and improve on their 5-3 regular season finish from a year ago. The team returns all of its offensive weapons plus adds a former Hec Crighton winner as their new quaterback.”

Stock up or stock down: Up. It's tough to say things could get much better in the Stampede City after they went 10-2 last season, but with almost every offensive player back, and some key additions on the defensive side of the ball, you can't say the Dinos' fortunes are trending down. Calgary looks ready to battle, yet again, with an equally impressive Saskatchewan Huskies squad for the conference crown in what should be an exciting race.

Schedule (all times Mountain):

Saturday, August 28 vs. Alberta - 7 p.m. (pre-season)
Saturday, September 4 vs. Saskatchewan - 7 p.m.
Friday, September 10 vs. Regina - 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 18 @ Alberta - 1 p.m.
Saturday, September 25 @ Manitoba - 12 p.m.
Saturday, October, 2 vs. UBC - 1 p.m.
Friday, October 15 @ Saskatchewan - 7 p.m.
Friday, October 22 @ Regina - 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 30 vs. Alberta - 1 p.m.
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