It seems to me that Donnovan Bennett gets it. There isn’t too much I could disagree with in his article about tomorrow’s game at sportnet.ca/cis. He brings up some interesting facts when discussing the teams’ offenses [both give up 2.43 sacks per game] and defenses. Particularly the defenses.
Coming into the 2013 season the Queen’s Gaels were assumed to be far and away the best defence in the conference, as all their impact players were back from their dominant 2013 campaign. The Guelph Gryphons were expected to have growing pains as they lost a handful of seniors. But, for much of the season, the opposite has been true.
Guelph’s defence leads the league in every major defensive category and is the chief reason they’re undefeated. Queen’s defence has had rough patches, but has also been banged up.
Actually both defenses have been banged up. Certainly there has been more talk from Queen’s about their injuries. People know that Guelph’s all star LB John Rush has been lost for the season but there has been little mention of the fact that next most important man in the middle of the Gryphon D, DT Jeff Finley, hasn’t played since the Mac game. The Gryphs have been playing with freshmen starting at both corner spots since Colin Mandich was hurt. DE Cam Walker missed several games. LB Vince Lonsdale and DT Zack Mallough weren’t even available until the fifth or sixth game of the season.
Guelph’s young secondary will face its toughest test as Queen’s boasts the most athletic group of receivers they have faced thus far.
I’m not expecting Queen’s best receiver, Giovanni Aprile, to play. Besides our young secondary has met every challenge thrown at them so far this year. I expect they are up to it. What’s critical from my point of view is the play of our D-Line. If they can do their job the way I expect the secondary won’t be a worry. I haven’t mentioned his name lately but DB Coach Gregg Butler was the perfect man to have in charge of this talented young group. I don’t believe any other coach in the CIS could have had these youngsters as well prepared as what Butler has done.
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I just watched CH TV’s late, local sports coverage. They showed some H.S. football highlights from Cardinal Newman in Stoney Creek. Tonight was the official opening of Newman’s new $1.2 million turf field. Contrast that with the fact that the biggest game of the OUA season is going to be played tomorrow on a grass field with a 90% chance of rain in the forecast. Queen’s is the only one of the OUA’s eleven football programs that doesn’t have a synthetic turf field. Will it play a role in the outcome of tomorrow’s game? Maybe but hopefully not.
Everything I’ve heard is that the grass is in good condition and the photo evidence seems to back that up. The problem with that is a couple of hours of rain could change all that. Update: My latest check of the forecast calls for light rain in Kingston [up to 1mm] beginning in the afternoon. That isn’t likely enough to make a mess of the field.
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Another story in the Mercury – Football Gryphs ready for shot at undefeated season. Interesting … Last year, Guelph trailed in every single game but rallied to become the first Gryphon squad to post a 7-1 record. This year, 7-1 is now the worst they can finish and they did trail in five of the games they’ve won.
In SportsEh’s CIS Pick’Ems all three experts have picked Queen’s. Then again … Queen’s was favoured in both games last year too!