♦ It was a great day for watching a football practice. I arrived around 10 a.m. and opted to go with sunglasses and no hat. I now have a shiny red forehead to show for it. On the field it was warm, but not too warm. I still find that the format of Coach Lang’s practices makes them fun to watch. The typical football practice is a boring spectacle, even for a former football coach. The Gryphons practice with a lot of tempo.
♦ I find it is getting a little easier to identify most of the veteran players. Many, perhaps most, have practice jerseys with their regular uniform number on it. I still takes some effort to I.D. some scout team players and freshmen. There are some anomalies as with two Red #58s. One number I think Gryphon fans will be cheering for a lot is #22. That is current jersey number of RB/H-Back Mason Swift.
♦ Swift, Johnny Augustine and Rob Carnegie were getting lots of reps. There seems to be a real effort to get one or more of these guys on the field at the same time with Rob Farquharson. It’s hard to say just yet which, if any, may line up at H-Back/Fullback or as an additional RB. The one concern is that we don’t have a large number of RBs on the roster. If we’re using four RBs who is left for the scout team?
♦ On the D-Line it wasn’t hard to identify 6’7″ Hunter Bowman and 6’5″ UW transfer Djordje Gavrilovic. I won’t be at all surprised if one or both are dressed on Labour Day. Another DL who stands out and I expect will see early action is DT Dan Horta. Horta played on the scout team last year after transferring from Concordia. His best game at ConU came two years ago against the Montreal Carabins. He is likely the only current Gryphon who has faced the Carabins before. Ian Marouf and Jordan Thompson were at practice for the second day in a row. Marouf was helping out. Thompson was in equipment and participating in all drills. Doesn’t necessarily mean he is eligible for 2014, just that he is still in school. Ben Osmow is definitely out for the season with an ACL surgery scheduled.
♦ I saw lots of “banged up” guys but no sign of serious injuries. Players were sporting ice packs on knees, elbows, hamstrings, shoulders and hands. John Rush does indeed have 100% clearance to fully participate in practices, including full contact. Rush has only participated in two hours of practice each day but that is largely because coaches already know what he can do. Rush watched the second half of practice in shorts and without need of an icepack.
♦ One of the highlights of most Gryphon football events is meeting new people and I had a chance to do that today. I talked with new Equipment Manager Mike Quinn for 5 or 10 minutes, had a lengthy conversation with football alumnus & current Community Liaison Coach Doug Pflug, met trainer Gabby Boulding and talked with Mark McCormack, the father of freshman Liam McCormack. Back in the day Quinn played four seasons of OUA football with the Windsor Lancers. More recently he was Equipment Manager at WLU under Gary Jeffries. Pflug is the photographer who took the three photos above.
♦ Some follow-up on my notes from Day 1 … Curtis Rukavina isn’t just a guest coach but will work as assistant LB coach … John Engel will have a role throughout the season but it will be with the defense – assisting DB Coach Devin Kavanagh & game day spotter … AD Tom Kendall was back at practice today watching for 45 minutes, chatting with Coach Lang, Head Trainer Gunner Obrascovs and Rob Massey among others … while Martin Popiel won’t be playing football at Guelph he will continue as a member of the Gryphon Men’s Basketball team … Dan Noble is another former Gryphon player/coach helping out at training camp.