Looking back on the challenges that 2011 has brought, Reinhart can’t help being an optimist – as the football culture has somewhat changed in the ‘Royal City’.
“The recruits coming in this year are definitely the best recruiting class that I’ve ever seen – with solid talent all around not a single one of them has quit, which is pretty amazing. All the years that I’ve been here, at least 10 guys have quit or dropped out and none of these guys have,” he explained.
“Once these guys get experience … and our coaches continue to recruit as they are, talent-wise we should be up there and pushing for a better record than this year.”
He also praised the work of second-year Defensive Coordinator (and former Laurier linebacker) Kevin MacNeill – who is “definitely the most intense coach I’ve ever played under”.
“Coach Mac will step in there and fire everyone up,” he said.
“He’s always rallying the troops and gets everyone going for practice and before a game. He’s a great coach to play for – no doubt about that.”
This isn’t the first positive message we’ve heard from this veteran team leader. I previously summarized remarks he and Kevin Campbell made at a QB Club luncheon about the family atmosphere and positive team chemistry. Mark Durigon expressed very similar sentiments when he spoke at the Oct 19 luncheon. I think that’s very good news for a program which just experienced a 2-6 season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Its pretty easy to have a positive atmosphere on a winning team but a real credit to the leadership of veteran players and the coaches to maintain it through a very disappointing season.
Could veteran players be misrepresenting the positive team atmosphere? Not according to this message I received from the mother of a freshman walk-on. Again, its easy for a freshman who got early playing time to be happy but the fact that this scout team member is so positive is much more important.
Our son had a wonderful first year experience and I can’t say enough how pleased we are as parents. The program and coaches at Guelph really supported our son in all the right ways. We have a son who entered the program with an affinity for football, now we have a boy who is passionate about his sport and will do anything in his power to wear the “red and black”.
A long time supporter of Gryphon football wrote to me saying …
The 2011 Gryphon season began with so much promise and anticipation. The amount of hard work and dedication put forth by the players and coaches to prepare for the season is astounding. Now here we are, the season is finished and we did not make the playoffs…. (We’ll have) to learn from our mistakes as a team and to take what worked and make it even more successful next year. (We’ll have) to get smarter, stronger and faster and become the team we all feel we should and can be.
I share this positive outlook. Certainly there are people outside the program who want to believe Guelph is headed to bottom tier status in the OUA. But we have too much young talent and too good a coaching staff for that to happen. In my opinion, there will be several outstanding contributors next season from this year’s practice roster guys – 2010 & 2011 recruits. I fully expect the recruiting class of 2012 will be equally as good and include a few shocking surprises. Stay tuned!