Who: Université de Montreal Carabins
What: Inter-conference preseason game
When: Sunday, August 24 @ 4pm
Where: CEPSUM Stadium, Montreal
- high level of competition – Carabins are a perennial Top 10 team; they are the last team to defeat Laval; they have more victories over Laval than any other team
- opportunity to travel to the same city that will host the 2014 Vanier Cup
- face a team the University of Guelph has never played before (unless in the old OIFC)
- the Carabins traditionally play a style of football not frequently seen in the OUA – a ground-n-pound, ball-control run game with a very tough defense.
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About the Carabins …
– the UdeMontreal is centrally located on the north side of Mount Royal
– team colours – royal blue, white & black
– fielded a football team from 1966 to 1971
– football was re-incarnated in 2002
– team has made the playoffs 11 straight seasons
– 70.3% winning percentage the past 11 seasons
– current head coach is former Edmonton Eskimos coach and GM Danny Maciocia
– Maciocia is entering his 4th year [3-yr record 19-7-0]
– 5 Carabins players were selected in the 2014 CFL draft
– one Carabin player is currently in an NFL training camp
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My hopes and expectations …
- It’s an exhibition game. It won’t be perfect. The score isn’t all that important. Depending on the way the team plays I could be as happy with a 7-point loss as a 7-point win. The score at the end of the 1st or 2nd Q may be more significant than the final score.
- I hope that the Gryphons can be competitive with the Carabins along the line of scrimmage. Both teams have to replace some top notch linemen but Guelph will not be dressing a single one of our D-Line starters from last year. I’ve spoken highly of our DL depth and it will get a real test on Sunday. I like our O-Line talent but we need to find two new starters. We went to Saskatoon in August 2012 relying on some very young OLs. It worked out well. I would love to see the same level of competence against the Carabins on Sunday.
- To put things in perspective, the Windsor Lancers went to Montreal for a similar game in 2012. The Carabins totally dominated the Lancers along the line of scrimmage. IIRC Windsor managed a paltry 40 or 50 yards of offense, while Montreal ground out 400+ yards. The Carabins played no preseason games prior to the arrival of Coach Maciocia.
- The Gryphons will dress 73 players, including at least 16 high school recruits. They should all see action. Montreal will use almost 80players. I hope to see some excellent individual performances. Breakout performances from some freshmen would be nice. Something akin to the games that Jazz Lindsey, Alex Charette and Mike Ullerick had against Concordia in 2011.
- The Carabins will have a slight advantage in preparation – 10 days of training camp versus 6 for the Gryphons.
- Speaking of freshmen, and I include redshirt freshmen, it may be the only game some of them dress for this season. I think this is a great experience for them – a quality road trip with air travel, hotel, face a top CIS team and have game film from it. I can’t help but think that the thought of doing that every preseason has some appeal to recruits.
- Speaking of film, Gryphon coaches and players will have some excellent footage to review. I think it yields more benefits than scrimmaging with a York or Laurier. Not that those spring scrimmages weren’t worthwhile but this game better prepares us to take on Mac on Labour Day.
- I hope to see a tough, hard-hitting game from both teams. There’s always a risk of injury. Players also get hurt in practices and scrimmaging with their own team. The CIS needs more inter-conference games and one of the excuses for not playing them is “risk of injury”. Lets hope there are no serious injuries.
Check back here Sunday afternoon for some live updates from Montreal.