Teams in the Quebec conference are having their depth tested like never before this football season. Of the six teams in the conference, all but Bishop's has had to go to their backup quarterback due to an injury - and even then, they had to deal with an injured Jesse Andrews in last year's conference semi-final. That means that within every team's last six games, their starting quarterback was injured.
Think about that for a second. The CFL has eight teams, and you rarely see all teams battling with injury issues at quarterback. You have most teams starting more than one or two quarterbacks in a season, but that has just as much to do with production as it does with injuries. Last week alone you had four backup quarterbacks playing against each other due to injuries.
There isn't just one thing regarding these injuries; it seems a lot more like random bad luck than it does a league-wide epidemic. Jonathan Collin of McGill had a serious knee injury, Robert Mackay and Bruno Prud'homme have concussion issues (is it me, or have we seen a lot of those lately?) and Jean-Philippe Shoiry left his game this week against McGill with a lower-body, suspected ankle injury. Montreal was not immune, having to go to the Wildcat for a game because Alex Nadeau-Piuze left a game against Concordia with an injury and was inactive against St. FX the next week.
It has thrust quarterbacks with different backgrounds into the spotlight. For Ryne Bondy he was the starter on opening day of last year for McGill but replaced by Collin. Tristan Grenon was in a battle in preseason for the Rouge et Or, but lost and proves that Laval has a breeding ground of quarterbacks (remember a lot of people thought Cesar Sanchez Hernandez could start for in the league but was a backup to a certain Benoit Groulx for a bunch of years.) Then, Terrence Morsink came in for Mackay, who got his first start when then-starter Scott Syvret went down to injury.
Morsink threw three interceptions in the first quarter this week at Laval. In Mackay's first action at Laval, he was 0-2 with two interceptions. Not the easiest place to play as a young quarterback.
Players of the week
Offence: Tristan Grenon, LAV went 24/36 for 242 yards and 3 TDs in the win against Concordia. Amazingly, Grenon leads the QUFL in touchdown passes with six and completion percentage (67%) and he's a backup.
Defence: Justin Conn, BIS was a kick-off return away from matching what his Alouettes teammate [Conn was an Alouettes draft pick this past year and went to training camp with the team] Diamond Ferri did a couple of weeks ago against Edmonton. Conn had four tackles, a QB sack, two tackles for loss and an interception that led to the Gaiters' first touchdown.
Special Teams: Raphael Gagne, SHE had a great game returning kicks for the Vert et Or. He had an 83 yard punt return just before half-time and racked up a total of 139 yards on four returns. He leads the CIS in punt return yardage.
1. LAVAL 5-0
2. BISHOP'S 4-1
3. MONTREAL 4-1
4. CONCORDIA 2-3
5. SHERBROOKE 2-3
6. McGILL 0-5
The Week Ahead:
No. 5 Bishop's (4-1) @ Sherbrooke (2-3), Friday 7pm
No. 1 Laval (5-0) @ No. 7 Montreal (4-1), Saturday 1pm [TV/Webcast: Radio-Canada]
McGill (0-5) @ Concordia (2-3), Saturday 1pm [Radio: Team 990]
Montreal's loss takes a little lustre out of the Laval-Montreal game, and Sherbrooke looks for their first win against a Quebec team that has also won a game as they continue their push to the playoffs. In NDG, a rematch of a very exciting game between the two English schools in Montreal.