More scrimmage news & photos

I was really glad to receive this message this morning:

Golden Hawk logoThe venue for the game/scrimmage with Laurier has been changed back to: 
Alumni Stadium in Guelph on Saturday, April 5 @ 1:00pm!

I guess the sunshine is having its effects. Alumni Stadium will be playable on Saturday. Is it too much to hope that Spring really, finally, is here?!

*     *     *

It was nice to see Jarryd Baines out on the field (& sidelines) at York Stadium Sunday. Baines was working with Gryphon DBs, filling the void left by Gregg Butler. It’s just a temporary measure for Baines who has had his position in the CFL’s Operations Dept. extended. If Jarryd is able to share anything I hope it is his passion and talent for creating turnovers. While the 2013 Guelph D led the OUA in many categories the number of turnovers forced dropped significantly from the 2012 level – i.e. when Baines was Def. MVP.

QB run

Photo: Lou Toppan

As is normally the case, the quarterbacks in the scrimmage yesterday wore non-contact jerseys [Yellow for Guelph. Turquoise for York]. I’m sure that will be the case again Friday. It’s understandable but it limits the picture we see of the offense. I really hope we’ll see the QB as a serious running threat this season. Emphasis on the word threat, because the threat alone opens up things on offense. A running QB changes defenses.

For example, the only time Guelph has had a lot of success against a Donnovan Carter coordinated defense was 2012 when he seemed focus his game plan on stopping Jazz Lindsey from scrambling. Jazz may not have run for many yards that day [18] but he completed 85% of his passes that [24-28 2TDs 0INTs]. Chris Rossetti was one of the most efficient passers in the country in 2010, a season he also rushed for an average of 52 yards per game. The next season, coming off a knee injury, when his rushing numbers dropped by 50%, his passing stats also suffered. Justin Dunk is so legendary for his scrambling, people often forget that he is one of the Top 10 career passers in CIS history with over 9,000 yards.

Photo: Lou Toppan

Photo: Lou Toppan

I’m getting off topic here but the success of the running game Sunday makes me think about what’s going to happen when defenses “sell-out” to stop the run. We won’t see the answer in the off-season but in 2014 the Gryphon offense needs to be ready to respond to that. In my mind if you have a true, dual-threat QB you already have half the solution. Back to the scrimmage, we did see Jazz scramble for several 1st down runs and step out of bounds. Freshman QB Alec Reid also made a nice fake and bootlegged untouched for a 10 yard TD on his first play in the scrimmage. While there are still lots of unanswered questions at receiver one player who shone was Colin Booth with a couple of touchdown receptions.

Coach Cluff watches a 1-on-1 drill

Coach Cluff watches a 1-on-1 drill

As I wrote yesterday, the defense overall looked very good. It’s hard to think Daniel Horta won’t earn some playing time in an already deep unit. I love the thought that being able to rotate 6 or 7 DLs will mean that this D-Line will always be fresh. That’s a big deal as there may be several HUNH [hurry up no huddle] offenses in the OUA this season. The LBs looked solid even without John Rush playing. Young guys like Andrew Graham and Curtis Newton are starting to benefit from their experience. And I really think whoever takes over as DB coach is in for good time. This young group of DBs should make him look good. Certainly working with the talent here has to be attractive to a prospective coach. Several people remarked to me about how physically they played.

Photo: Lou Toppan

Photo: Lou Toppan

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