Post-game thoughts on the Ottawa game

I can sum up my feelings on the game in one word – disappointed.

I really thought we would do better.  I thought we had a good chance of beating an Ottawa team that had to replace more starters than we did.  Without a doubt the GeeGees were a better team than I expected.  That compounded the fact that our Gryphons played poorly while it highlighted some of our very real deficiencies.

The obvious difference between our program and the GeeGees is that they have greater depth.  They have been a top tier team since they rejoined the OUA from the Quebec league a decade or so ago.  Its a credit to their recruiting success and player development that they had quality personnel to replace so many player losses. 

The major differences were along the line of scrimmage – their surprising strength and some of our biggest deficiencies.  The roots of our problems on the line go directly back to the recruiting classes of 2007 and 2008.  Of all the offensive and defensive linemen we recruited in those two years only one was playing yesterday – RG Matt Richardson.  Experienced 4th and 5th year linemen ought to be the backbone of the team but we’ve got almost none.  

Not a single lineman recruit from 2008 is even on the roster this season.  John Fitzgerald, who was recruited as a DL, ended up playing a little bit of OL last year.  He is the only lineman from that class that ever dressed in  a game.  Fitzgerald who had done double duty the past two years representing Guelph in both football and wrestling dropped football this season.  Admittedly, Mike Millar, who was a LB recruit in 2008, has been a starter on the D-Line.

So with the 2007 & 2008 recruiting classes being washouts with respect to linemen we are having to rely on some relatively inexperienced players.  Fortunately we made out considerably better recruiting linemen in the 2009 thru 2011 recruiting classes.  There have been linemen from the first two of those classes who have played as freshmen amd started as sophomores.  Against Ottawa, 2011 recruits NT Hunter Bowman and DE Jordan Thompson saw playing time in the first game of their careers. 

Bottomline, we have some very talented OL & DL but they are mostly just entering their 2nd and 3rd years.  So, in spite of the disappointing result on Saturday, I do hold out some hope for improved line play over the course of this season.   Talented young players will get better with more playing time. 

I actually had other things in mind to say when I started this post.  Perhaps I’ll get to them tomorrow.   But the point I’m making actually lines up quite well with what most of us have heard Coach Lang say about recruiting.  His emphasis on recruiting and the funds raised by by the FoGF will, I believe, yield very tangible results.

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7 Responses to Post-game thoughts on the Ottawa game

  1. John Ross says:

    Thanks for the thoughts Peter, we enjoyed watching the game regardless of the result from Alberta.. Go Gryphons !

  2. Marcus says:

    With over 100 players on the Guelph roster maybe the coaching staff should put some other players in to see what they are capable of doing. The season is early! Its no good having perfectly capable players sitting in the stands and on the sidelines when the QB isnt getting the protection needed to execute plays and the Ottawa offence could drive a truck up the middle. Move some of the guys around and get some others on the field. Just a thought

  3. Gryphon Grandfather says:

    Everyone who plays is going to look at lot better against the Warriors. But it really won’t be a good indicator of whether we’ve fixed our problems. We struggled in the first two games last season as we broke in a new offensive line and learned a new offence. We just didn’t face a team as good as Ottawa in the early going last year.

  4. Halton Eyes says:

    Some glaring statistics;

    Your safety had to make 10 tackles.
    You had to field 2 punts all game.
    Defense gave up 600 yards of offence.
    You might not have played the top 2 teams in the division yet.

    Earlier you stated you were better off on the OLine this year over last. Maybe the problem doesn’t lie with players. Not a criticism just an observation.

    Some serious overall is required in order for Guelph to compete this season.

    Last point – Coach stated the loss lies on the coaching staff’s shoulders, his in particular. A familar theme we heard 12 of 13 seasons in Windsor.

    • Having now seen Ottawa I would say they are closer in talent to Mac & Western than I had previously thought. It will be interesting to see how they do against Queen’s.

      We actually forced uO to punt three times. One went out the side of the endzone for a single. Still not a great accomplishment.

      I remember the comment about being “better off on the OLine this year over last”. It was specifically about having more OL who have some actual game experience (even if that experience was quite limited). But we ended up with two first-time starters – Meschino & McDooling – and have a third who is starting at a new position – Piotrowski. Centre Cody O’Neill was only making the fifth start of his career.

      There is only one way to get experience. I saw plenty of breakdowns on the O-line that were correctable – miscommunication, mistaken assignments. The offensive line is a unit that gets better by playing together. While 4 of our 5 starters had some previous OUA experience only O’Neill and Richardson had ever lined up beside each other before.

      • Marcus says:

        you are right on about players gaining experience! Defensively, you need linemen who create chaos and pressure the QB and backs. Defence plays a huge role here. What the Gryphons need is D linemen who get double teamed all the time. This frees up the linebackers to make those big hits in the backfield. And you are absolutely right about lack of communication on offence. Thes guys can do it! Guelph has the talent. Maybe the coaches should have another look at how they rate their players and getting prospects into a game to see what they can do.

  5. JohnQ says:

    It takes a brave coach to take out previous years starters. Many of the veteran Defensive players with plenty of OUA experience did not perform well. Offensively Ottawa just out-played us. Our Offence looked predictable and confused. Gryphon Grandfather makes a good point about the Waterloo game being a non indicator. Hopefully the next full week of practice will allow us to regroup and iron out the obvious wrinkles.

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