Thoughts on the loss to Windsor

Wow!  Another loss.  It doesn’t feel good but for me it doesn’t hurt like the Mac and UofT losses.  There were some definite positives, and negatives, in last night’s game.  I’m a glass-half-full type of guy.  I find a lot more reasons for hope in the positive elements of the game than I have worries about the negatives.

The Negatives

We lost 41-21.  We are 1-4 and now have to win out to have any shot at the playoffs.  That’s a long shot.

We took 17 penalties for 173 yards.  At least five of these penalties were for Unnecessary Roughness and four of them were of the “touch foul” variety.

Gryphon fan displays displeasure with another of the "cheap" Roughing penalties that only seemed to be called on the visiting team.

Examples:  A player puts his hand on a pileup to keep from falling on the pile – 15 yards.  A player tries to punch the ball loose from a runner before the whistle is blown – 15 yards.  A pass rusher lets up after the Windsor QB gets rid of the ball and barely touches him but the QB “flops” – 15 yards.   An OL lying on his back shoves at a Lancer player who was taking a long time to get off him -15 yards.  At worst this last incident was unsportsmanlike conduct. Roughing penalties should be for rough play. The kind of incident where a player could get hurt, not incidental or “impolite” contact.  The offside and procedure penalties are of more concern to me than the cheap Roughing penalties assessed by the refs. 

The game stats are seriously screwed up.  All Cdn DB James Savoie was not in the lineup yet the statistician credits him with a punt of 18 yards. [Should have been Michael Fortino]  Even worse the rushing stats show Safety Jordan Duncan as a ball carrier who ran backwards for a 19 yard loss.  That play never happened and screws up the rushing stats.  The individual stats show 4 sacks by Guelph but don’t record the yardage.  The Stats Summary shows 0 sacks for 0 yards.

Daniel Ferraro is still struggling as a punter.  He did launch a couple of beauties with the wind but most of his punts were knuckleballs in the 20-30 yard range.  That hurt.  His work as a kicker was solid.  On an onside kickoff attempt he lofted a short, high kick that we nearly got to.

The Positives

Our offensive and defensive lines looked better against the Lancers than any team other than Waterloo.  A good job was done of pressuring and containing slippery QB Austin Kennedy.  If we had limited a few more of the Lancer rushes you could have said our front 7 had an excellent game.  The OL provided better pass protection and opened up holes for the running game.  Keep in mind that some of the nicest running plays were negated by penalties.  Still TB Rob Farquarson averaged 6.6 yards on 14 carries for 92 yards.  Summary: we were far from dominant but we held our own on the line of scrimmage.

Freshman QB Jazz Lindsey brought a new dynamic to the game.  Windsor seemed to respect his mobility right from the outset of the game.  It gave our offence a little more freedom in which to operate.  Lindsey was only 11 of 32 for 202 yards (if you can trust the stats) and could have been better if not for several drops.  He was off target several times on short passes he should have completed.  He generally overthrew on the intermediate passes he missed.  Teams will have to respect his arm strength as he throws long passes with ease.  A drop by Dave Honig on a deep post would have gone for a 60-70 yd TD if he had been able to hold on.

By the second half, for the first time other than the Waterloo game,  I felt like this offence could potentially score any time they came on the field.  It wasn’t painful to watch like the Ottawa & UofT games or the second half vs Mac, games where our offence couldn’t get in a rythym.  As we entered the 4th quarter and got the wind at our back I didn’t feel like we were out of the game.  It’s quite a different feeling to think that we may be able to score two or three touchdowns in a quarter.  We managed one TD but another nice drive (and our hopes) ended with an interception that Jazz threw at the 1 yd line.

On defence, DT Cam Thorn and Will LB Colin MacDonald had their most productive games of the season.  Each recorded a sack and brought pressure several other times.  They were credited with 4 and 5 solo tackles respectively.  Also looking more at home on defence was freshman LB John Rush.  Rush recorded a sack among his four tackles.  He’s not yet an every down LB but he comes into the game when Guelph shifts into their 3-man front.

Other than punting, our special teams were again strong.  Charette and Trivieri averaged 22.7 yards per punt return and Trivieri averaged 22.8 on four kickoff returns.  We held Windsor to an average of less than 8 yards on punt returns and zero on KOs.

*     *     *

For what it’s worth the Boxscore, Scoring Summary & Game Stats
are on the CIS website.  Keep in mind that they contains some serious “flaws”.

Windsor Star’s game story

Guelph Mercury game story is really just a rehash of some of the CIS stats.

*     *     *

Some notes on the roster and who played.   Veteran Zach Androschuck took James Savoie’s spot on the field while Mackenzie McLaughlin (2nd yr guy) was the extra DB dressed.  Freshman Matt Nesbitt dressed for his second game but this time he was playing on the O-Line rather than DT.  Freshman Nigel Henry saw his first action and made a tackle.  He dressed versus UofT but didn’t see the field IIRC.  Freshman NT Hunter Bowman dressed for the second consecutive game, third overall, and had 2 tackles.  TB Jordan Henderson (2nd yr guy) also dressed.  Veteran Curtis Rukavina dressed for the second time after missing the first three games and most of training camp with a shoulder problem.  Freshmen Cam Walker, Keaton Spratt and Iain Hutchison continue to play extensively on special teams along with Long Snapper Daniel MacDonald and P/K Ferraro.

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22 Responses to Thoughts on the loss to Windsor

  1. Mark says:

    [Editor’s note: not all of this comment was fit to print]

    Guelph was lucky to score 21 points. Windsor made some questionable decisions that helped UG get 2/3 of their scores.
    No that dropped pass would’t have gone for a TD. Matt McGarva was right on the WR tail and would have easily tackled him within 10-15 yards of the catch. Besides, how many dropped passes did the Windsor DB’s have? That’s part of the game my football friend. Catch the ball.
    Only Guelph got roughing penalties? Maybe that’s because only Guelph was playing dirty?

    • Lindsey hit Honig in stride, he didn’t need to slow down one bit. It would have been a footrace in which Honig had a step or two on McGarva. We’ll never know the result. Even if you’re right Guelph would have had the ball in the redzone.

      Guelph was penalized for roughing – ie illegal block in the back – and Windsor had a flagrant facemask. Those are what roughing penalties are for. Plays like that are potentially dangerous and somtimes “dirty”. Most of the roughing penalties on Guelph were neither rough nor dirty nor dangerous. It was supposed to be a full contact football game not a dance recital.

  2. JohnQ says:

    Peter. I think it is time to stop addressing the ‘positives’ and look at the stats (reality/truth). It doesn’t help the team to focus on a few good aspects.. Teams, like business, improve by identifying and addressing their ‘negatives’.
    Here are the facts. Last 2 games. Average yds per rush 2.1 and 2.5. Completions/attempts 20-41, 11-32.
    Defensively. Average (opposing team) gain per rush 5.4 and 5.9. Front line starting four (Windsor game), 0 tackles, 1 tackle, 1.5 tackles and a respectful 4 tackles by #97 (there is your only bright spot this game). 3 (three) linemen with 2.5 tackles collectively, with only 6.5 total tackles. Against Mac, 6 tackles in total by starting D front four. That is against 2 teams who rushed for 37 and 40 rushes respectively in total. According to the CIS website, Guelph has been out-sacked 13-5 this season by opponents. 4 of our sacks were against Waterloo. A team which anyone would admit was a wash-over.
    Are these stats OK? Particularly since our team is 1-4? Are the veterans achieving their expectations? Are the Freshman that are starting, contributing with stats that back up their play?
    The ‘veterans’ have started and played the majority of each game this season. The responsibility of these stats belong to them. Peter. Is it time to try other players? If not, would you say that we have been out-coached and that perhaps we should look at switching the blame away from the players? Changes need to be made. It is sad that the University of Guelph woos kids and then doesn’t give them a chance to play. If the team was ‘showing’ then I could respect the Coaching decisions. When starting player are failing week after week, it is perplexing that the coaching staff doesn’t make the prudent decision to try the newer players who they actively recruited. The fact that the University football staff is not living up to the written ‘hype’ it promoted to the new recruits is disappointing, when kids could have made the decision to take their education elsewhere with the hope to play football as a bonus to getting their chosen degree. I, as a parent, have met some of these kids. I am sad for them that they watch the team lose week after week on an internet feed without the opportunity to contribute.

    • JohnQ, just a few points to start. I’ll respond to more as time allows.

      First, as I tried to say the rushing stats in particular are messed up. Ignore the -30 for the QB which seems widely inaccurate even if it includes sack yardage and the -19 credited to out Safety. And this is what you get:
      C Yds Avg TDs
      R Farquharson 14 92 6.6 16 1
      K Campbell 1 17 17.0 17 0
      A Haid 1 1 1.0 1 0

      That’s 16 carries for 110 yards or almost 7 yards per carry. A significant improvement from the Mac game.

      Second, the stats show ten TEAM tackles or 10 plays where the tackle wasn’t credited to a specific player. That’s 15% of them that weren’t assigned. The most difficult to assign occur in the “pile ups” at the line of scrimmage. Its terrible for the stats people to have missed so many and quite likely the DL was invovled in many of them.

      Third, stats aren’t that important for the DL. Most defences are designed for the LBs to make the tackles. For example, the primary goal for the DT is to be disruptive – ie. force the O-Line to double team him every down. That means there is one less OL to get out and block the LBs. Perfect example, 2010 OUA Allstar DT Mike VanPraet, widely considered one of the most dominant DL in the league had fewer than 10 tackles on the entire season. I want our defensive line to play better but I don’t judge it based on stats.

      Finally, CIS football is an elite sport not a participation sport. Playing time ought to be earned in practices as well as by game performance. Every team in the league has 80 to 100 players but we are all limited to a 45 man playing roster. If these coaches start trying to make sure everyone gets playing time so that no one has hurt feelings they ought to be fired.

      • Marcus says:

        If any one should be fired right now it is the guys making the decision who plays on the defence. This is the worst showing of the defence so far. 41 points against! Come on…enough is enough! Coaches pull your heads out of your _ _ _ and at least see some of the other talent. I really wonder if it is a popularity contest who plays and who sits or if there is another reason. They should realize that they are wasting some valuable talent and may even lose them for good. Sorry just my opinion and I am in no means wanting to offend anyone but I too have a coaching background and don’t just sit in the stands asleep. You don’t have to be too smart to see the limited talent you have. Take a look at your roster and dress ….no PLAY others, then move some guys into other roles. I mean really what do you have to lose? Come on Guelph….pull it together

      • Marcus, the defence only gave up 31 points – 4TDs and a FG. That is too much against Windsor but you can’t blame them for all 41 points. Windsor only had 176 yards passing and 215 rushing for a total of 391. That’s not a bad number. And its even less if the CIS stats didn’t lose track of the yardage we sacked Kennedy for.

        For perspective compare that with what the Windsor offence did against WLU & Mac.

        Laurier game – a 41-40 win for the Lancers with 6 passing TDs and a FG – 479 passing yards, 157 rushing yards for a total of 636 yards.
        Mac game – a 21-19 loss for the Lancers with 3 passing TDs – 294 passing yards, 113 rushing yards for a total of 407 yards

        We sacked the Windsor QB four times. Laurier twice and Mac only once.

  3. JohnQ says:

    Thank you for your insight Peter. Would you agree that the ‘sack’ stat must have significance as it would be included in ‘disruption’? Would it be fair of me to say that we could use significantly more disruption in light of the lop-sided numbers of sacks compared with our opposing teams (15)? Omitting the Waterloo game (4 sacks) we have had only 1 sack according to the stats on the CIS website. I would assume this stat would be accurate.
    As far as the playing of other players, perhaps I could have expressed my opinion in another way. Would it not be in the teams best interest to dress and rotate a few of the fringe players who have the talent to mature, simply to keep them interested instead of discouraged?
    Lastly, Should Western bump us out of the playoffs this weekend, should the coaches give the playing time in the last two games to back up players so that they have a chance to gain valuable OUA experience?

    • I would agree that sacks, tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and QB pressures (which the CIS doesn’t track) are more important than tackles in general.

      I also pointed out in the Waterloo game that DT Jeff Finley made two downfield tackles on receivers. While you might prefer that a DT be stuffing RBs at the l-o-s I thought they were worth noting because of the “hustle” they showed.

      As for dressing and rotating other players, some of that is already going on. More at some positions than others. Thats part of the reason I included the notes on roster changes. I haven’t counted yet but I think Guelph has likely dressed 60 different players in OUA games this season.

      • Marcus says:

        Dressing and playing are 2 diferent things, and Finley aint that good…check the stats…sorry not being mean just calling it like I see it, and stats do matter. Guelph allows too many defensive yards

  4. JohnQ says:

    Marcus. Finley is not a starter, he is a backup to Thorn 97. He dresses, but rarely plays. Players who play all games, on mostly every series, compile stats which indicate ability. When I refer to stats, I am referring to the starting lineup. (ie, Peter Gryphon doesn’t start, therefore he has poor stats!)

    • Marcus says:

      I know he isnt a starter. My point is that all you have to do is watch some of the guys on D and Peter even said it himself that you need a guy or two that creates so much pressure against the O line that he gets double teamed. Sorry but in my mind the only one on the D line is Thorn that accomplishes this. But the coaching staff is too blind to see those players who just dance one on one with the offence. Maybe next game they should play music for them! Sorry if I hit a nerve but lets be honest here. The offence played ok against Windsor despite some mistakes, but lets be honest, the defence is lacking intensity on the front line. Check your depth chart coaches

      • By my count Guelph has dressed 10 different defensive linemen so far this season. I really don’t think that our depth on the DL allows us to go deeper than that. So I’m not sure what you want the defensive coaches to do.

        Its becoming apparent that the top six are Millar, Thorn, Seilis, Thompson, Finley and Bowman. Who is it you think can help us that is being overlooked? Its a fairly young unit when you consider that in terms of eligibility the starters include one senior [Millar], one junior [Thorn], one redshirt sophomore [Seilis] and one freshman [Thompson].

        Finley is a redshirt freshman who has actually changed positions since spring practice [DE to DT-3 technique]. Hunter Bowman is a true freshman.

  5. Grant MacDonald says:

    Marcus and John Q
    I’ll be honest with you, the defence hasn’t played that well this year. However, it seems to be the second half of the games where they are having trouble. This is probably because the defence is on for 60-70 plays a game. + the fact that 90% of special teams is made up of defensive players. When the offence goes 2 and out repeatedly it does get tiring.
    Also when commenting on defensive line play. Thorn has been playing pretty well this year. Also, given the scheme that the gryphons play there are players playing very out of position. Millar is playing weak side end right now, that is not his position, he is a strong side end, however he has been forced to play there. Selis could play wherever, and has a great deal of talent, however he trained for end and now is playing inside. thorn has been playing pretty well.
    As far as starting rookies, and playing other guys, i’ll tell you right now, the guys out there are the best that are on this team. Thorn, Seilis, millar all have another year or 2 left and can and will grow. They have the best defensive line coach in the OUA if not the country in Cluff, he does not tolerate anything but the best, there is no “popularity contest”. Same for MacNeil. Rookies that can come in and play on the line in their first year are very special they don’t happen often. Just because a player was great in H.S doesn’t mean he is going to be great in his first year. Especially on the line. Where the difference in talent is huge.

  6. marcus says:

    And so you are entitled to your opinion just like me…if things were so great dont you think the scores would reflect so?

  7. Grant MacDonald says:

    I feel like the scores reflect exactly what I said….aside from the Waterloo game (which is fair to say is really a bye week) The offence has put up 8, 12, 13, and 21 points. How can you possibly say this is a defensive problem? I’m not saying that they are great, but they are a ok defence.
    With less than 2 touchdowns of support in 3 games this year its easy to see why we aren’t winning. And trust me no rookie DL is gonna fix that.

  8. JohnQ says:

    Peter and Grant. Thank you for your comments. I am starting to feel a little embarrassed at my lack of understanding of the way this defence operates. With your inputs, I now see our Defensive issues. I will ask questions before I comment from now on!

    • JohnQ, you’re not the only one who has had to learn things. I haven’t coached football since the 1980s. Many things have changed about the way the game is played and coached. I’ve made my share of mistakes. Your insights and questions are appreciated. Keep on posting!

  9. marcus says:

    Peter you must admit then that the only way players will improve is to let them play and show what they have in a game situation. Too bad that Mr. MacDonald thinks that there are only a few guys able to carry the defense. Sorry not to be disrespectful to anyone but once again there are other guys equally as talented in the wings. Sorry if you dont agree. Dressing a player and playing a player are two different things. Thats what makes me wonder what the coaching staff is doing. Is it about building a “team” or is it about something else. Watching the games have been frustrating and rather than complaining and quoting stats, I am offering an alternative as a learning option. Dress em….AND play em….then maybe the wins will come. They certainly arent coming now so what is there to lose. Maybe next year by having some other players play, it will shake things up a bit. Make them work harder to achieve that starting spot.

    • No I don’t agree Marcus. Players improve in several ways. Game experience is important but not until they’re ready. Very, very few new recruits are ready to play CIS ball when they arrive on campus. There are no shortcuts.
      Young players who aren’t dressing need to be working hard in practice, training hard in the HIgh Performance Ctr, following proper nutrition, paying attention in film sessions and studying their play books among other things.

  10. Grant MacDonald says:

    Marcus, dressing in the OUA is not a right, and certainly neither is playing. You must earn that right. I played for guelph last year, on the DL. I have played with every player on that team except the rookies. Through the years I have seen many, many rookies come and go, some being high recruits who just weren’t good enough once they are playing with men. I must say this again, rookies do not learn on gameday. In the last 2 games if playoffs are completely outta it, then maybe, but not before. If a rookie is good enough then he will dress and play.
    The coaches play the best team they have, its that simple. There is no agenda. Considering right now there is 1 starter (thompson) who is in his rookie year, that shows that he must be the best we have got. I must stress this point, rookies must prove themselves on the practice field, there is no way that guelph or any other school in the OUA will place a rookie out there he he hasn’t out preformed the person above him in practice.
    To think that a kid is entitled to a shot or we got nothing to lose is a terrible attitude. No player is entitled to anything, and going into a game with the its just a learning game attitude is a slap in the face to 4th and 5th year players.
    If a kid works hard monday-thursday and is one of the BEST players available then he will dress and play. Until then he won’t. Its just that simple.

    • marcus says:

      I never said it was a right to play…of course players have to earn their spot! Just because a coach plays a particular player because he feels that player has earned to start does not necessarily mean the coaches decision is correct. But that my friend is simply a difference of opinion ….not an attitude….and judging by what I have observed in practices, spring camp, training camp and games there are a lot of players equally talented. The intent is not to slap anyone in the face! But maybe it would be an incentive for everyone to work that bit harder. There have been games certainly where guys have dressed and just watched from the side. Not sure what that accomplishes. Anyways I hope
      Guelph does good against Western but we shall see.

    • marcus says:

      Just another thought Grant, I thought these 4th ot 5th year players had broader shoulders and could stand a bit of criticism. And not just the linemen so not picking on them. And a number of the rookies as you call them are already men…maybe even moreso than the veterans

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