Thoughts on winning the Yates Cup semifinal

So many things can be said about this game but at the same time I’m almost lost for words. As I see it, this game and this season are about the intangibles of this team. The character, confidence, camaraderie and mental toughness of this team is what is winning games. While the talent level on this team has improved and we have greater quality depth than any time since the mid to late 90s it is not the sum of individual talent that has won games.It is quite likely the case that three teams in the OUA, Queen’s among them, have at least marginally superior individual talent especially if you take into consideration how many young players are in key positions with the Gryphons.

This Gryphon team is made up of some outstanding character guys.  But in my mind the difference maker is coaching. Coaches Lang, MacNeill, Brown, Galloway, MacDonald, Cluff et al are the ones who have not only taught the skills and drawn the Xs & Os but have created the one-big-family environment, built up the confidence, developed the mental toughness et cetera. It all starts at the top. And that is the reason that Stuart Lang should be coach of the year in the OUA and CIS.

Head Coach Stu Lang
Photo: gryphons.ca

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Lots has been written about the Gryphs victory over Queen’s yesterday. Definitely not your typical weekly coverage. Rob Massey has another story in the Guelph Mercury –Gryphons headed to Yates Cup in Hamilton. It includes some great quotes. Just a few samples:

“We’re a Gryphon football team and we’ll fight to the end no matter what the circumstances,” Gryphon linebacker Jake Reinhart said.

… “I just watched it into my hands,” Fortino said as he was surrounded by the fans who stormed the field after his winning score. “I dropped a couple before a couple of plays earlier and my coaches just told me that as soon as this starts, just watch the ball in, catch it and you’ll get it and that’s what I did.”

… “The guys just had to dig deep and realize that we are a great team,” Gryphon head coach Stu Lang said. “They came back, it’s phenomenal. I could stand here and mention every guy. … Everyone steps up.”

The report in the Kingston Whig-Standard obviously had a negative tone – Mistake-prone Gaels lose in overtime. Among the quotes:

“It’s like I told the players this week,” Guelph Gryphons coach Stu Lang said after his team defeated Queen’s 42-39 in overtime in an Ontario University Athletics semifinal football game Saturday.

“Playoff games aren’t won,” Lang said. “Playoff games are lost.”

That couldn’t have rung more true than it did Saturday afternoon.

And an interesting perspective from a Western blogger – ARE YOU IN … YET?

As exhilarating as their monumental fourth-quarter comeback was, from 22 points down, the fact that Saturday’s All Blacks did it to one of the traditional bullies in CIS football made it all the more sweeter. I may take particular glee in this Gaels’ loss but this movement is more than just a lovely little smile-creator for the still-not-over-2009-Yates-Cup Mustang fan at this side of the keyboard.

… People look at the Queen’s-Gryphs contest and surmise that those events could never be duplicated. I’d agree that the order and timing of the way things played out at Alumni Stadium seemed insanely crazy. Yet, this is the way that Guelph plays ball, this season anyways. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before in the regular season–a-hem, Queen’s and Western. I’ll grant you that the change in venue, from the RoyalCity to the Hammer, may impact that Gryphon-feeling. You know, the feeling that you’ll never need to ask for more cow bell. Still, there is a magical intangible energy that has come from Lang’s 2012 Gryphs.

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As always boxscore and complete game stats can be found on the CIS website.

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7 Responses to Thoughts on winning the Yates Cup semifinal

  1. Paul Cook says:

    Congrats to coach Lang, his coaches and players. There is no doubt in my mind OUA and CIS coach of the year. Great blog by the way, have enjoyed every minute of it this season!

  2. Neate Sager says:

    The right team won, which is more important than who has the potentially better team.

  3. Mark says:

    Great season to coach lang, coaching staff and players. Having witnessed yesterdays game and the opener Vs Mac, this team could have taken two paths this year after the Mac lost. The coaching staff demanded, learning, growing, nothing short of the best these men could be. An boy have they responded. Good luck next week @ Mac. You guys are already champions, Coach Lang, coach of the year – umm, yeah!!

  4. Mikee says:

    Have thoroughly enjoyed watching this team grow each week and now that bigger things are on the horizon. Best of luck in Hamilton.

  5. birddawg says:

    Listening to the tail end of Hamilton’s CHML radio coverage of Mac’s win over Western, was as unbelievable as Guelph’s win over Queens. The announcer was actually making a ‘victim impact statement’ about how the Marauder’s were under-valued by the media. Yes, poor McMaster, hasn’t lost in 18 games (sniff). Don’t worry CHML, the Griffs will take care of your feelings of your lack of worth. We will make sure that the media portait’s about you are accurate.

  6. Les MacNeill says:

    If McMaster wins they are supposed to but the pressure is on them, The gryphs will decide, it is in their court. As far as anyone else, Guelph lost only one game can’t say the same for Western & Queens

  7. Gryphonfootball1 says:

    I hand it to the coaches and especially Stu. Talent is one thing … but the mental toughness that this team has and the spirit, even between coaches and players, is a state of mind kinda thing that can only come from the top. Gotta say though – the Gryphon receivers making the catches they do when they need to … and the defensive turnovers (#1 in country) … manoman.

    Subject to a little more research, it’s possible that no team in North American football college level or higher, has ever come back from a 22 point deficit, without the ball, and only 10:15
    minutes to play.

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