CIS Countdown 2010: Regina Rams

In 50 words or less: After a nondescript 2009, the Rams are shaking things up with a few interesting transfer players, but whether they can overcome a brutal schedule and the loss of their star wide receiver remains to be seen.

Burning questions: CAN QB Marc Mueller build on his success last year without favoured target Jordan Sisco (52 catches, 700 yards) around?

WILL highly touted LSU transfer Akiem Hicks dominate as he has promised?

HOW will the Rams make it to .500 with half of their games against Calgary and Saskatchewan?

2009 recap (Regular Season: 3-5. Playoffs: 0-1): It was a ho-hum season in Regina for all of 2009, with the team getting blown out by a combined score of 70-140 in their four games against Calgary and Saskatchewan, while going 3-1 against everyone else in the conference. Due to Manitoba and SFU having wins stripped away from them, and UBC being a terrible team, Regina eked into the playoffs...where they were promptly blown out 53-23 by the Huskies.

Departures: SB Jordan Sisco, LB Brendan Ganne, LB Thomas Irving, FB Sheldon Tillotson, RB Graham Mosiondz, DE Mike Picken, DL Bjorn Person, WR Andrew Busby, K Perry Scarcelli

Arrivals: K Chris Bodnar, LB Zach Gorski, WR Ty Buhler, DL Stefan Charles, DL Steve Arenas, DL Akiem Hicks, DL Jas Dhillon, CB Tommy Dotson

Keep an eye on: Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks—all 6'6'' and 300 pounds of him—was a sought-out recruit in 2009, eventually plucked up by the powerhouse LSU Tigers. However, after he became the centre of an ethics investigation at the school (spoiler: it involved improper recruiting), he left the team, and is looking for a fresh start in Regina (of all places) where he promises to "dominate".

On offense, Adrian Charles has been given a chance by Regina to revive his career. Charles, who was a star junior football player for the Saskatoon Hilltops in 2007, saw football become secondary in his life after being arrested and charged with attempted murder in October 2008 (the charges were eventually stayed). While he looked good during spring camp in May, there's still little word out of the Rams' camp of where he'll fit into their plans for this season.

Coach & coordinators (blatantly cut-and-pasted from last year's preview): Head Coach Frank McCrystal is the only head coach the Rams have known since they entered CIS football back in 1999. McCrystal has been the head coach of the Regina Rams Football Club dating back to 1984 when they were members of the Prairie Junior Football Conference. McCrystal guided the Rams to a Hardy Cup championship and Vanier Cup berth back in 2000 in only the program’s second year competing in CIS, and in 2007 he was recognized as both Canada West and CIS Coach of the Year. The Rams coordinators are: offensive coordinator Bernie Schmidt, and Paul Dawson on the defensive side of the ball.

Off-the-field factors: With Charles and Hicks, the Rams are taking a chance on players with, shall we say, questionable backgrounds, and coach McCrystal will undoubtedly be taking the same sort of questions from the media the entire season.

From last season's preview: "The Rams will be in tough with QB Teale Orban's departure and a lot hinges on his replacement Marc Mueller. The Rams stock is taking a slight hit with Orban's departure, but the Rams will still be in the playoff picture coming down the stretch."

Stock up or stock down: Down. With Sisco gone, big losses to the defense, and two games against Calgary and Saskatchewan to contend with, the Huskies Rams (thanks, Vic) will have a slog getting to .500 this season, even with their intriguing additions.

Schedule: (all times local)
9/3/2010 vs. Manitoba 7:00 PM
9/10/2010 at Calgary 7:00 PM
9/18/2010 vs. Saskatchewan 7:00 PM
9/24/2010 at UBC 7:00 PM
10/2/2010 vs. Alberta 7:00 PM
10/16/2010 at Manitoba 2:00 PM
10/22/2010 vs. Calgary 7:00 PM
10/29/2010 at Saskatchewan 7:00 PM
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1 comment:

  1. In the "Stock up or down" section, I believe that you meant to say "Rams" instead of Huskies in terms of having to slog to get to .500