Thoughts on the Laurier game

Kalven Seilis chases down Laurier QB
Photo: Rob Massey

The Negatives:

  • Penalties – 13 for 129 yards – continue to hurt the team. Gryphon penalties were a factor in Laurier getting out to a 10-1 lead. Illegal procedure penalties with 1st & goal at the WLU 2-yd line [2nd Q] and 1-yd line [4th Q] potentially cost us 14 points. We came away with only 4 points.
  • Kicking field goals is a tough job but Daniel Ferraro hit 10 in a row between late last season and the first few games of this. So its always a little disappointing when he misses a couple from inside the 40.

The Positives:

  • Zero turnovers was a big improvement over the five we had against UofT. We also turned over the Hawks four times. I think the biggest was Jaryd Baines’ strip & recovery off a WLU receiver after a 64 yd gain brought the Hawks into the red zone. Iain Hutchison had 2 picks and Bryan Dunjko one.
  • The running game – Rob Farquharson and the o-line dominated against a WLU front 7 that led the OUA in run defense coming into the game. The Hawks’ defense had held Queen’s to 78 yards and their top RB to 55. Guelph rushed for 243 on 31 carries, an average on 7.8 ypc. Outstanding!
  • The offense was almost perfectly balanced with 247 passing yards to go along with the run game. Jazz Lindsey had another solid game going 20 for 32, 2 TD passes and zero INTs. He got the ball into the hands of 8 different receivers while rushing four times for 35 yards.
  • While 424 yards sounds like a lot to give up to this Laurier O, the defense did hold the Hawks to a single TD and force them to attempt 6 FGs. The leading Gryphon tacklers were LBers John Rush, Jake Reinhart and Jaryd Baines. When the LBs are making lots of tackles you know the d-line is getting its job done. The front 7 controlled the line of scrimmage and made the Laurier running game irrelevant.
  • Punts and kick-offs were fielded much more cleanly than last week. Once again A’dre Fraser was close to breaking away for a TD return. Its only a matter of time (& an absense of red flags) before that happens.

It should be noted that the 4 of 7 OLs dressed yesterday were freshmen. Two started – Kyle Fraser and Jamie Lalonde – and all played – Cam Wilhelm and redshirt Matt Toppan were the others. Sophomore starter Matt Nesbitt sat out the game. I’m guessing it relates to the injury that he sustained against UofT – an ice pack in the back of his pants makes me think it was a bruised tailbone. If that is the case I imagine he will be good to go this week. The o-line didn’t give up a sack for the fourth game in a row. The official stats show one sack but that was the play where Jazz recovered a bad snap for a loss of 13 yards. That is the first errant snap I remember since the Saskatchewan pre-season game. Cody O’Neil has been more reliable snapping the ball than ever before. Every one of these OLs deserves credit for what they have done the past four games.

I can’t mention how well our O-line is playing without giving some credit to their coach Mike MacDonald. I don’t think any observer of the OUA thought we could get as much from our OL unit as we have this year. Just think about the level this group could be playing at two years from now. Certainly the OLs deserve much credit for protecting Jazz and resurrecting the run game but running back Rob Farquharson has taken his game to another level. I think new RB coach Neil Lumsden should get some credit for his improvement. Certainly going back to his freshman season [2010] I remember Perry Marchese and other coaches singing his praises. His attitude was exactly what coaches dream about – 100% effort in practice, he is totally coachable – listening, receiving and absorbing instruction without question. He has become a much more well-rounded RB since training camp began. If anyone could benefit from the wisdom that Lumsden has brought to this staff it is Farquharson so Coach Lumsden deserves some of the credit for his break-out performances in 2012.

Finally I really like the fact that we are seeing 7 players used along the defensive line. It’s apparent that the starters are DE Mike Millar, 3-tech DT Jeff Finley, 1-tech DT Cam Thorn and DE Kalven Seilis. But with situational substitutuions  and rotation to keep the big guys fresh, Jordan Thompson, Zack Mallough and Donnie Egerter are getting regular snaps. There have been many times in recent seasons when we didn’t have this quality of depth. The back-ups were used much more sparingly. This is a very good situation for this program especially when you consider we have several more quality players being developed for the future – Blake McNeely, Chad Sorenson, Reza Shayani among others.

*     *     *

Two games stories in the Guelph Mercury – Gryphon Ferraro puts boot to Laurier’s homecoming and the K-W Record –  Hawks fall in university football action.

Notes: The knee injury that forced Jamie Lalonde to be carried off the field was not as serious as it looked like it might potentially be. He won’t play this Saturday but will be back on the field this season … it was nice to see Chris Rossetti after the game. He was dressed in double blue and had watched the game from the press box in his capacity as a member of the Toronto Argonaut scouting staff.

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