Thoughts on the season opener vs the Ottawa GeeGees

Since the moment I saw the schedule I liked the timing of the Ottawa game.  From a February post on this blog …

Our worst games of the past two seasons have been on the road, late in the season versus Ottawa. Opening at home against a GeeGees team that loses many excellent starters could be the change we need.

In fact, Ottawa has lost 13 starters from 2010 – All Cdn QB Brad Sinopoli, 4 of 5 OL & 2 of their top 3 receivers on Offense; allstars DL Sebastian Tetrault & DB Chayce Elliot & three others on defense.   The GeeGees also hired a new Def Coord in the offseason.  Much better to face a team with that much turnover in the opener than once they’ve got several games experience under their belt.  Just think about our own experience last season with the transition of a new QB & O-Line.

Mind you Ottawa does not have to learn a new offense.  Their new starter at QB, Aaron Colbon, may not have much experience but he has had three years to learn their system.  I’ve got to think that the GeeGees game plan will be to run the ball more than usual.  It would take the pressure off their new QB. They have a very talented RB in Brendan Gillanders.  Usually an O-line can master run blocking more quickly than pass blocking.  And our run defense has been the weak spot of our D in recent years.  Plus, all of the turnover on our D is in the front seven.  They will want to test our new LBs and DT.

On defense the loss of Tetrault and Elliot is big.  Ottawa’s D-line will apparently be noticeably smaller than last season.  If that means we can give the QB time to pass we will be in very good shape.  Ottawa played without Elliot at corner in the game last season.  Their remaining DBs weren’t capable of covering Jedd Gardner.  We just need to give the QB the time to deliver the ball.  I believe our group of receivers is deeper and faster than last season and can dominate against the uO defensive backs.  Our O-Line doesn’t have to dominate Ottawa’s D-Line for us to win, they just have to hold their own.  Our zone-read running game can work without overpowering the opposition.  I like RB Steve Lagace’s ability to read what’s happening, make the cut and excelerate through the hole. 

It was hard to get a true read on the strength of our O & D lines in the Concordia game.  We had key starters sit out.  All starters saw only limited action as players were being rotated in and out before the 1st Q was done.  Concordia played their starters the entire 1st half and kept many in until the 4th quarter of the game.  I’m hopeful we’ll see much stronger play up front versus the GeeGees.  That will be necessary to ensure that we’re able to run the ball and we can slow down Ottawa’s running game.

Check out Ottawa Sun Sports Editor, and Gryphon parent, Tim Baines’ recent preseason preview of the GeeGees in their hometown paper.  The link also has a two minute video with interviews from the GeeGees training camp.

Other notes:  With Jedd Gardner needing only 19 receiving yards to break the Gryphon all time receiving yardage record, I expect we’ll see that happen very early in the game.

Duane Forde, CFL Draft analyst, lists DE Kalvin Seilis as one of the top 14 CFL prospects in the OUA … Entering his second CIS season, this 6’5″ former Eastern Michigan transfer definitely has both the physical attributes and skill set to draw CFL interest.  From OUA Uncovered: 2011 Football Preview, a 92 page electronic magazine you can view here.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on the season opener vs the Ottawa GeeGees

  1. I didn’t really write about the importance of the game but with Guelph consistently ranked between #4 & 6 in the OUA, along with Ottawa and Queen’s, it’s a critically important game. Since we don’t face Queen’s during the regular season this game could go a long way to determining a whether or not we get to host a home play-off game.

    Last chance to buy season tickets! It’s a pretty good bet that hundreds of fans will wish they had when they can’t get into another sold out Homecoming Game. A $40 season ticket saves you over 25% off the regular ticket prices. Student season tix are $15. Go to the Gryphon Box Office: http://gryphons.ca/boxoffice/buy.php?sect=2&id=1

    Also, very good news from the Sports Info office – there will be live Game Coverage:
    Webcast: http://www.ssncanada.ca/game/2838/
    Online Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/uoguelph/football

  2. Marcus says:

    After watching the Guelph Ottawa game today I ask myself what are these coaches thinking! As a fan it is easy to see that the players on the defencive line aren’t putting enough pressure on the quarterback. It is really amazing the number of first downs Ottawa racked up. Dont you have any big tough guys to make the difference on defense…and dont get me started on the offence. Come on coaches…wake up

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