Burning Questions To Preview RSEQ Football
So, what were the final standings in the Quebec conference anyway?
With ineligible players affecting both Concordia and Bishop’s, the order was Laval, Montreal, Sherbrooke, McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s in last, who lost all of their games due to that issue after the season ended (including a rare double forfeit).
I assume Laval is the class of the conference again. How do they keep getting better?
Well, this year – for the first time in a few years – Laval has an experienced offence and most key players who graduated have come from the defensive side of the ball. Laval has 11 returning starters on offence, including quarterback Tristan Grenon.
Defensively, they lose Arnaud Gascon-Nadeau and Frederic Plesius among others but will be looking to newcomers Jean-François Cyr and Edward Godin-Gosselin to fill some of the holes, not to mention players who spent some years in the shadows of Gascon-Nadeau and Plesius.
Who is in the best position to challenge Laval from within?
It really comes down to the two other French schools, Montreal and Sherbrooke. Montreal has some key losses – notably defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe who did the rare CFL-CIS-CFL coaching trip and quarterback Alex Nadeau-Piuze who holds most if not all of the passing records at the school.
However, their talent on defence may be the best it has ever been as they are a veteran group led by defensive linemen Jean-Samuel Blanc who is coming off of a 12.5-sack season (in a nine-game schedule) and David Menard. Offensively, the inexperience at quarterback is off-set by the fifth year of running back Rotrand Sene who has been one of the best backs in the conference since his arrival. Don’t forget Montreal actually split their season series with Laval last year.
Sherbrooke, on the other hand, has their second full year under their coaching staff and beat Montreal in the Quebec semi-final on the road last year. They are led by third-year quarterback Jeremi Doyon-Roch who has been the starter since his true freshman year, and may be taking the mantle of best Canadian quarterback from Kyle Quinlan and Brad Sinopoli before him.
Defensively, they have to deal with the losses of Nicholas Boulay and Kevin Regimbald-Gagne who both went to the CFL but a consistent coaching staff may allow them to finally take that next step as they are in reloading mode.
Who is in the best position among the English schools?
McGill is the English school to beat. I would say they have the best coaching staff and it shows. They lost reigning CIS Rookie of the Year Shaquille Johnson, but have experience at quarterback with Jonathan Collin who has been battling injuries since his sophomore year and have depth at almost every position.
McGill is still rising to the ranks of the three schools mentioned above, but their fourth place finish from a year ago is theirs to lose.
Concordia has one last year with quarterback Reid Quest, and has four veteran receivers, including Kris Bastien arguably the best receiver in the conference, to put pressure on opposing secondaries. However, their own secondary is hurting after losing Kris Robertson to the CFL and Nathan Taylor who has graduated to the Stingers coaching staff. Their offensive line is young and untested, but they do have Bryan Chiu on the coaching staff who knows a thing or two about that.
Bishop’s has 10 returning starters on offence, including three fifth-year offensive linemen and nine on defence. They also have a fifth year quarterback in Jordan Heather, so this is the last chance to get to the playoffs for a lot of this veteran team. After having to forfeit all but one game last year, they want to bounce back in their second full year under coach Kevin Mackey.
Bishop’s biggest problem is that they aren’t in RSEQ/AUS interlock this year as Quebec returns to an eight game schedule. That means a fourth game against the French schools while McGill and Concordia have only three each. The final playoff spot will come down to the round-robin between the three schools, and it doesn’t help the Gaiters that they start one game behind.