CIS Countdown 2010: Concordia Stingers

In 50 words or less: The Stingers have had a competitive training camp as they deal with life without three of the top 10 selections in the last CFL draft. The Stingers are young, but with key veteran starters returning they should contend for a playoff spot in a competitive Quebec conference.

Burning questions:

WHO will step up as the leader of a defence without Cory Greenwood?

HOW will a change at defensive coordinator affect a team whose defence was a weak spot last season?

WILL having Bryan Chiu on board help a young offensive line with two starters graduating?

2009 recap: 3-5, fourth place. Very similar to Bishop’s 2009 season. Started off 0-4, won the next two until losing a nail biter to Bishop’s on the season’s last day. They ended up losing to Laval in the semi-final. Rob Mackay returned after missing most of 2008 to injury but the team was let down by a young and inexperienced defence that never found their game.

Departures: LB Cory Greenwood, WR Cory Watson, OT Kristian Matte, RB Cedric Ferdinand

Arrivals: LB Max Caron, LB Travis Bent, QB Tyler Pritty, RB/KR Raul Thompson

Keep an eye on: Travis Bent. While he isn’t playing the middle LB spot vacated by Greenwood (that task is looking to go to Caron) he was a unanimous high school all star in Toronto and will be an asset to the Stingers on the outside as the school continues their transition into Canada’s Linebacker U.

Coach & coordinators: Gerry McGrath is back at head coach and is the offensive coordinator, but this year has added an assistant offensive coordinator and has a new defensive coordinator. Bryan Chiu is assistant offensive coordinator and his transition to coaching has already earned rave reviews. Chiu is responsible with blocking schemes and is taking control of the running game as McGrath tries to balance the offence. The expectation is for Chiu to take over the offence in a few years. Phil Roberts is the defensive coordinator for the second time at Concordia after Warren Craney left to become head man at York. Roberts seems to be focusing on coverage, and McGrath said that the defensive coverage is as good as he’s seen since 1998 when the team went to the Vanier Cup.

Off-the-field factors: There are questions about every team in the Quebec conference this year and no clear indication of how things will go behind Laval who is the presumptive favourite. Concordia, after a couple of veteran teams, now has a younger team (as is the cyclical nature of university sports) but there is enough talent on board to expect them to be close to a playoff spot.

From last season's preview: “Thanks to Laval dominating competition throughout the playoffs last year, it proved that despite Concordia being the second best team in their conference, they are one of the best teams in the country – and came closest to beating the Rouge et Or.”

Stock up or stock down: Down. For the short term, it is unrealistic to consider Concordia one of the top teams in the country like I thought it was going into last season. However, a lot of key youngsters on this team should be key members of this team when the stock starts to rise again.

Schedule: (all times Eastern)
Saturday Sept 4 7:00 @ Bishop's
Saturday Sept 11 1:00 vs Montreal
Friday Sept 17 7:00 @ McGill
Saturday Sept 25 1:00 vs Bishop's
Sunday Oct 3 1:00 @ Laval
Saturday Oct 9 1:00 vs McGill
Saturday Oct 16 1:00 @ Sherbrooke
Friday Oct 22 7:00 @ Montreal
Saturday Oct 30 1:00 vs Laval
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