CIS Countdown 2010: St. Francis Xavier X-Men

In 50 words or less: The X-Men will be hard-pressed to improve on last year's season, losing both QB Steve Snyder and WR Akeem Foster, but they are still in a position to challenge the defending AUS champs at Saint Mary's.

Burning questions:

CAN they overcome the loss of their top two offensive playmakers?

WILL they take their form from their 5-0 start or 2-3 finish?

HOW will coach Gary Waterman deal in his second season at the helm?

2009 recap: St. F-X started off blazing with five straight wins to open the season before dropping two of their three final regular season games. They overcame a slow start to beat Acadia in the AUS semifinal but lost to Saint Mary’s in the Loney Bowl.

Departures: QB Steve Snyder, RB James Green, WR Akeem Foster, OL Christian Oberegger, DE Dave Skillen, Yahia Dalloul, DB Cauchy Muamba

Arrivals: OL Chance Eckert, WR Devon Bailey, DB Raye Hartmann, DB Jeremiah Hamilton, DE Marcus Wisdom

Keep an eye on: RB Sean Atkins. With Green moving on, Atkins is sure to see is role in the backfield increase this season. Last season he had 187 yards and a touchdown.

Coach & coordinators: Gary Waterman is the head coach and offensive coordinator, previously being defensive coordinator for the X-Men. For the second year in a row, Jon Svec will lead the defence for St. F-X. He played linebacker for five years at Waterloo.

Off-the-field factors: St. F-X is a school that is looking to make the leap into the top five of the CIS Top 10 this season, but they have to find a way to get by Saint Mary’s to do so. The last three years the Huskies have been the top of the division and you can’t help that the X-Men want to get that second-best label off of them.

From last season's preview: “It's been a long while (13 seasons) since an Atlantic team other than Saint Mary's reached a Vanier Cup. Perhaps it is good to tick off a few of the factors, including (but not limited to) the growing emphasis on another big-ticket expenditure, hockey, in the AUS (a positive story, for sure), OUA schools stepping up efforts to keep Ontario athletes in-province and the rise of football in Quebec. It has made it harder for the schools down east other than SMU to compete.”

Stock up or stock down: Holding firm. They should have no problem with Acadia and Mount Allison, but that would make this year a lot like the last couple. Their goal has to be to make it out of the AUS, but it remains to be seen if they have enough this year to overcome key losses.

Schedule: (all times Atlantic)
Saturday Sept 11 2:30 @ Mount Allison
Saturday Sept 18 2:00 vs Montreal
Saturday Sept 25 7:00 @ Acadia
Saturday Oct 2 2:00 vs Mount Allison (homecoming)
Friday Oct 8 7:00 vs Saint Mary's
Friday Oct 15 7:00 @ Saint Mary's
Saturday Oct 23 2:00 vs Acadia
Saturday Oct 30 2:00 @ Mount Allison
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