More mid-season thoughts

A week back I wrote a post – Some thoughts midway through the OUA season-part 1 – in which I focused primarily on the positive progress of the offensive and defensive lines.  But the positives so far in the 2012 season aren’t limited to play along the line of scrimmage. A quick look at the the CIS statistics after 5 games shows some other good things.

  • Linebackers John Rush and Jake Reinhart are 2nd and 5th in the nation in tackles – Rush with 31 solo tackles, 20 assists, 4.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL and a pass break-up. Reinhart has 29 solos tackles, 15 assists, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked pass.
  • Tailback Rob Farquharson is 2nd in the nation in total rushing yards and average rushing yards per game. He also has 96 receiving yards. Farquharson has scored 5 touchdowns.
  • Jazz Lindsey has 1039 passing yards which makes him 14th in the country. His completion percentage is 58.4% and his passing yards per game = 207.8. These number having risen steadily since a poor statistical day in the opener. He has rushed for 206 yards on 28 carries.
  • Dillon Dimitroff is the team’s leading receiver averaging 47.6 yards per game with 238 yards on 19 catches and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Dimitroff no stats are kept for crushing blocks by receivers.

One unfortunate category where the Gryphons are among the nation’s leaders [3rd] is penalty yards per game – 138. Most of this is correctable and Guelph needs to see immediate improvement to have a shot at beating Western or Queen’s.

The Gryphons are 11th in interceptions made with 5. That is not a bad number but its also not a great way to measure our defensive backfield. Having lost 3 veteran DBs from 2011, each of whom had been an all star at some point, the defensive backfield was an area of concern heading into 2012. As I’ve reported, DB Coach Gregg Butler has said all along that he has some talented but inexperienced players to work with. Butler told me that he would be able to mold a good DB unit from this group. His assessment appears to be bang on.

In spite of the using many new players, and several vets missing games, the defensive backfield has been good. They have given up a few big plays and more yardage than you would like but overall they have been solid. Certainly not the glaring weakness that was potentially possible when you lose three vets – Savoie, Howard and Duncan – who have a combined 14 seasons of starting experience. The principle new contributors have been Zack Androschuk, Iain Hutchison, Mackenzie Myers and Colin Mandich. A large number of other DBs have also made contributions. Off the top of my head – Taylor Palmer, Graham Smyth, Kevin Griffiths, Brandon Hunter and Mike Bracken have all seen playing time in the backfield.

*     *     *

From this morning’s London Free Press:

With the No. 9 Gryphons at 4-1 and the seventh-ranked Mustangs at 3-2, Western needs to win this game — win out, essentially — to secure third place, a home quarterfinal and avoid McMaster until the Yates Cup, if they get that far.

“It is a playoff game, for a lot of reasons,” Marshall said. “We need a win to get our confidence back. We’ve lost two games to two of the best teams in the country, but we did lots of things in those two games that made it easier for our opponents. We’ve gone through some adversity this week and hopefully that brings the guys together a little more.”

Overshadowed by the Western quarterback situation is the fact this game pits the top two rushers in Canada against each other. Garret Sanvido of the Mustangs is No. 1 with 695 yards, Robert Farquharson of the Gryphons is second at 588.\

Read it all here: Western going in with a playoff mentality

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