The Gryphons arrived in Saskatoon yesterday afternoon safely and in good spirits. The airline required that the team not travel as one group so offense and defense flew on separate planes an hour and a half apart. The weather in Saskatchewan was beautiful but is expected to become increasingly windy with possible thunderstorms. There is plenty of hype about the game in the S’toon and a large crowd is expected. Combine that with the big show atmosphere that is a Huskies home game, lots of distractions, the travel, a game under the lights and this trip will help to prepare the team for potential future playoff possibilities.
The players don’t seem to be distracted by the hype as I hear the team is very focused. The trip has been a good bonding experience for the players with many of them rooming with teammates they don’t know well. Most of the freshmen are rooming with a returning player. Some offensive players with defensive players, etc.. From what I can tell, 27 of the 67 players on the trip are guys who have not previously dressed in regular season OUA games. Of the 27, only 12 are new recruits. The other 15 are red-shirted members of last year’s recruiting class and a few 2010 recruits. Seven of the true freshmen are offensive players including 5 offensive linemen. The single freshman recruit who will start tonight is OT Kyle Fraser. The plan for today calls for a special teams walk-thru and positional meetings.
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Through this week at training camp the team has received great leadership from veteran players like Mike Millar, Matt Richardson, Dillon Dimitroff, Bryan Dunjko and Jake Reinhart. I’ve heard more from people who have been at camp and the word is that LB Pat McGrath is everything that people thought he was. Zack Mallough has been a force on the d-line and the Lindsey brothers Saxon and Jazz have been outstanding. The coaches chart all of the QBs’ throws and Jazz went 28 for 32 in a recent practice. Freshman QB Mikey Carney has also looked good displaying great athleticism. Freshman RB Ryan Nieuwesteeg earned a place on the roster for tonight’s game. Three young players out of local Guelph high schools are on the trip – James Ingram, Joel Mohr and Mac Myers – with Myers getting the start at one of the corner spots. The Gryphons will use three QBs and have brought six RBs, three FBs and ten receivers. A number of players with injuries, even non-serious ones, did not make the trip. That includes both veterans and freshmen.
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I have been told that the game broadcast will be available on-line at CKJH 750 > http://ckjh.streamon.fm/. Game time is 7 p.m. Saskatchewan time. You may find some discussion of the game as it is going on at cisfootball.org/forums, a CIS football discussion site.
The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix has also provided active coverage of the game including an interview with Stu Lang yesterday – Retired Eskimo tackles game on the sidelines. And a discussion of the benefits of inter-league play in the CIS with Coaches Towriss and Lang – Huskies coach says interleague play would improve football product.