Report on scrimmage with WLU – Apr 5/14

The day wasn’t what you would have hoped for to close out the spring football season. While it didn’t rain it wasn’t pleasant for an April afternoon. A steady north wind turned 2C into -4C with the wind chill. The performance on the field wasn’t going to warm many Gryphon hearts.

Matt Toppan handles WLU DL

Matt Toppan handles WLU DL

Through the one-on-ones and 7-on-7 portion of the practice it looked like the Gryphons had the potential to dominate the Golden Hawks. But you can’t say that happened in the scrimmage. Obviously a spring practice/scrimmage isn’t about winning or losing and that’s why no score is kept. What it was, was really what I was hoping for … Hopefully the Golden Hawks will present a little more of a challenge than the Lions. Last Sunday Guelph faced a York squad early in their spring camp that played nothing but base D. Yesterday the Gryphons faced a Hawk team at the end of their spring camp that used a very aggressive D  in the scrimmage. And that’s perfect since it will yield an entirely different type of film.

York was essentially a cakewalk. Laurier had to be frustrating especially for the offense. As much as Laurier had a good showing , it really wouldn’t have mattered if the Gryphon offense hadn’t been shooting themselves in the foot. I mean it’s one thing for a freshman OL to take a holding penalty trying to slow down a stunting DL but another thing for receivers and backs to go offside six times. When the offense did execute properly … there was no excuse for the number of dropped passes there were. Certainly not when receivers are competing to fill at least four vacant positions. But that’s why it’s good to do your learning in the spring and have the offseason to correct things.

I don’t mean to suggest it was all bad because there were lots of completed passes, a few nice runs by backs Johnny Augustine and Bryson Dobush, plus a couple of big scrambles from Jazz and Evan Murdza. The QB runs were quick-whistled even when they had open field in front of them. The referees also blew the whistle after a long Guelph pass completion that would likely have gone all the way but for a gaggle of coaches out on the field. Given the amount of blitzing Laurier was doing the Gryphons didn’t try to run it a lot.

Carney scrimmage INT

Corner Carney picks pass Photo: Lou Toppan

The Guelph D was generally solid making numerous plays behind the L-O-S. They did also give up several runs of 10+ yards and one of 30 yards or so. Obviously Laurier completed some passes too. A couple of the more notable plays on D included a hard-hitting pass break-up by Jailon Bell and a red-zone interception by Mikey Carney. The way I understand it the Gryphons wanted to rest D-Line vets Jeff Finley and Cam Walker but there were so many other DLs not available to play, that they had to share some of the load. But that’s not all bad news … some scout team and walk-on players got to see a lot of action.

One scout team DL who had an excellent showing and was recognized for that by the coaches was Reza Shayani. Also being praised after the scrimmage were young linebackers Andrew Graham and Curtis Newton. Both played significantly in 2013 in the wake of five linebackers graduating after 2012 but are stepping up their game further. In the absence of John Rush this spring Graham has jumped in to fill a void both in terms of leadership and on the field performance. Overall, DC MacNeill couldn’t have been too pleased as he took his players to the northeast corner of the stadium and had them run The Hill afterwards. The offensive coaches declined to acknowledge any outstanding performers post practice.

*     *     *

The #1 positive … this scrimmage should serve as motivation. If you want to be a championship team you need to be able to dominate in settings like this, even if you are missing a whole bunch of players. Laurier was missing players too.

Positive #2 … I got some video out of my new phone. That is a big step for me – LOL!. It’s a simple success that will motivate me in the off-season to keep working hard and making progress as I try to master new technology and social media. 🙂


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One Response to Report on scrimmage with WLU – Apr 5/14

  1. That video was hilarious. You literally sounded like John Candy, from Summer Rental. Good recap though. I wondered if I thought too highly of the Hawks, remembering the way they played Western and Queens last year. Although I try not to cheer too much for ‘crappy purple,’ its good to hear that Laurier gave a good account of themselves and that there’s a least a little bit of a promise that they’re turning the corner.

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