PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Offense – Jazz Lindsey
Defense – Ian Marouf
Special Forces – Andrew Graham
I shared Jazz‘s impressive stats line yesterday. Since then he has picked up a boatload of additional honours. On top of being the team’s top offensive player and the Porter Airlines Player of the Game, Jazz has been named the UofG’s Male Athlete of the Week, the OUA’s Offensive Player of the Week and the OUA’s Male Athlete of the Week. Marouf may not have received as much media attention but he has had a very impressive start to his Gryphon career. He has been a force on the D-line in all three games culminating with his seven solo tackles and two sacks for -14 yards on Saturday. Marouf leads the CIS in sacks , sack yardage  and fumble recoveries . He is tied for 2nd in TFLs. Graham, a redshirt freshman linebacker and a high energy guy, had a solid game on specials. He recorded 2.5 special-teams tackles [4 tackles in total] and, if I’m not mistaken, he was the player who tipped the onside kickoff into the hands of Orion Smith.
Scout Team Player of the Week – Kofi Yeboah
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Ian Marouf and Andrew Graham weren’t the only young Gryphons making an impact against UofT. Sophomore DB Tristan Doughlin made his first CIS start Saturday. Doughlin had contributed, last year and this, on special teams and as a dime back in passing situations. [He blocked a punt in the playoff win over Queen’s.] Saturday he lined up at safety and responded with 3 solo tackles and an interception. And speaking of INTs, true freshman DB Bryce Hines saw his first career CIS action late in the game. He was playing the field corner position and wasted little time picking off a UofT pass. [Veterans Mac Myers and Taylor Palmer had the other interceptions.] Duerell Jackson also saw his first action at defensive half and made 3 solo tackles.
When you consider that rookies Mikey Carney and Orion Edwards and sophomore corner Colin Mandich started for the third straight game. And that freshman Jadon Johnson saw action at DB as well as on specials, combined with the play of Doughlin, Hines and Jackson, and I have to think things are going quite well. The defensive backfield was an area of concern heading into the season with only one returning starter in Ian Hutchison. Through three games the DBs haven’t been perfect but they certainly haven’t been a point of weakness. With our strength up front that is all we need.
The D-Line and linebacker play has been excellent. The pressure up front means there hasn’t been excessive pressure on the defensive backfield. At this point in the OUA season Guelph has the number one ranked defense in most categories – points allowed, rushing yards, total yards and sacks. Besides the 17 sacks in three games the number I really like is 61 rushing yards/game.
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I have to say that the offensive line looked much better against UofT than in the first two games. For the bulk of the game the O-Line consisted of LT Jake Piotrowski, LG Cam Thorn, C Matt Nesbitt, RG Cam Wilhelm & RT Kyle Fraser. So far as I recall this would have been Nesbitt’s first start at the centre position. Regular starter Cody O’Neil did not dress. [OL Matt Toppan has yet to dress this season but may soon be ready to play.] Also dressed and seeing action were C Zachary Bader-Shamai, G Lucas Meschino and T Steve Mburanumwe.
While still not where they will need to be the unit missed fewer assignments, took fewer penalties and generated a good push on most plays. Five sacks is a lot to give up but in general Jazz had a lot more time to do his thing. It seemed to me that many of the offside penalties that hurt the offense in the 1st Q were on the receivers and not the O-Line. Though the fact of having a new centre snapping the ball could impact the timing. Saturday’s crew of referees did call receivers-in-motion going offside tighter than you often see.