In 50 words or less: After laying a foundation last year, Sonny Wolfe’s gang will use 48 returning players to breakthrough and make the playoffs in a tight Quebec conference after just missing out on a tiebreaker last season.
Edit: Thanks to a reader who brought up the fact that Gittens was no longer on the team. Would make it hard to keep an eye on him...
WILL Jonathan Collin take the next step after a solid rookie season?
CAN the Redmen recover after losing two key starters from their defensive backfield?
WHICH players will step up to help Collin and Charles-Antoine Sinotte on offence?
2009 recap: 3-5, fifth place. McGill finally got Wolfe a win after two winless seasons, and the important thing is that this team is no longer a doormat. If they had beaten Concordia last year on the road, they would have made the playoffs; instead they lost the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot.
Departures: RB Andrew Hamilton, DB Anthony Lucka, DB Greg Landry, RB Lenn Gittens
Arrivals: RB Shawn Murphy, LB Jesse Briggs, LB Brendan Carriere
Keep an eye on: RB Taylor Kuprowski is entering his third season with the Redmen but will finally have the chance to start. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry last year behind Hamilton, and he should be able to fill the shoes of the conference all-star.
Coach & coordinators: Sonny Wolfe finally got his first head coaching win at McGill last year following two winless seasons and seems poised to get to the playoffs this year in his 4th year. Wolfe is also the team’s offensive coordinator.
The defence is led by coordinator Clinton Uttley in his third season with the Redmen. He has the tough task of rebuilding the defence with plenty of competition with young players. Among his assistants are former Quebec all-stars in Pat Donovan (linebackers and special teams) and Lucka, who takes over the secondary.
Off-the-field factors: McGill is needing to get back to the playoffs. They have had success in other sports but they have to now get their student body back into football. Then they will have to take the next step because as they showed with basketball coach Craig Norman, the university won't be satisfied just getting to the playoffs.
From last season's preview: “Seriously, after back-to-back winless seasons and being outscored on average 51-16 last year, can their stock actually go down?”
Stock up or stock down: Up. McGill seems to be hitting their stride as the rest of the conference is rebuilding. Anything other than a playoff appearance would be disappointing.
Schedule: (all times Eastern)
Sunday, Sept 5 2:00 @ Laval
Saturday Sept 11 1:00 vs Bishops
Friday Sept 17 7:00 vs Concordia
Friday Sept 24 7:00 @ Montreal
Saturday Oct 2 1:00 vs Sherbrooke (homecoming)
Saturday Oct 9 1:00 @ Concordia
Saturday Oct 16 1:00 vs Montreal
Saturday Oct 23 1:00 vs Laval
Saturday Oct 30 1:00 @ Sherbrooke