Bye Week thoughts and news – Sept 28/14

It felt a little strange to have a weekend without a Gryphon football game to go to. So what did I do? Well, first I went to Ron Joyce Stadium to watch a couple of our OUA rivals play. I was mildly surprised that the same Queen’s team we beat 66-0 last week hung with McMaster though all four quarters of their game in Hamilton. The final score was 28-19 for the Marauders. After that I watched a little NCAA football before heading back out to a football stadium. This time it was Canada’s newest stadium, the still not-quite-finished Tim Horton’s Field, to see Darius Rucker and Keith Urban.

Keith Urban @ THF

I have to say that while I was watching Mac struggle to subdue the Gaels I couldn’t help but think about our loss on that field back on Labour Day. It really was a blown opportunity. A very winnable game that we basically gave away. The bright side is that at  the mid-point of our season the Gryphons seem to have fixed most of the things that troubled us four weeks ago.

The defense has essentially put the 3-4 used versus Mac on the shelf. The new D-Line has become very formidable in just a few weeks. It is different than last year’s group but it seems DC MacNeill has adapted things to play to their strengths. The front 7 have shutdown a couple of good offensive teams the past two weeks. Ottawa has scored an average of 40 points per game in their other 4 games. The Queen’s team we shutout scored 39 on Windsor, 30 on Ottawa and 19 at Mac. Guelph currently has the #3 defense in the CIS against the run.

Jazz Lindsey runs against Queen's. Matt Toppan #65 has his back.

Jazz Lindsey runs against Queen’s. Matt Toppan #65 has his back.

The offense really seems to have turned a corner. The O-Line has gelled quickly. We’ve had good QB play. First, from freshman James Roberts in relief against UofT. Then, solid back-to-back starts by Jazz Lindsey. OC Galloway has come up with some new wrinkles that have been effective including the use of 3 RBs and the use old-school TEs. In the opener we saw TE Pat Gerrie catch a couple of big passes, while in the past two games we have run very effectively from the 2 TE formation. When we did use a TE last year he was essentially just an extra OT. Gerrie and Mark Horta are threats to make plays in the passing game.

The blocking problems we had on specials in the opener have clearly been solved and that’s allowed Ryan Nieuwesteeg to explode as a punt returner. Nieuwesteeg has a gaudy 20.8 yards per return average. Guelph is ranked #1 in the CIS for Punt Returns but has more mediocre numbers on Kickoff Returns. Fortunately with a solid defense we are forcing lots of punts and not allowing teams to kickoff too often. Thankfully we haven’t had any notable failures on the kicking/coverage units.

From my point of view Guelph has shown some significant improvements since the  opening loss and is playing pretty good football at the midpoint of the season. From this point forward what I’m really looking for is consistency.

*     *     *

Fortunately, we have not been hard hit by injuries so far this season. The only serious injury I recall was the dislocated elbow suffered by safety Tristan Doughlin back in Week 2. I’ve heard he is expected back before the end of October. A mid-season bye week still provides a great opportunity to rest up players and to work on fundamentals. That’s essentially what freshman QB James Roberts told the Guelph Mercury the other day.

In a way, the Guelph Gryphons have gone back to training camp this week.

“That’s the mentality we treat it as and that’s what the coaches want us to,” rookie quarterback James Roberts said following Thursday’s practice at Alumni Stadium. “It’s been different. We’re kind of working more on our own skills rather than prepping for a team. It’s a good change.”

Interesting stats from the article … Roberts has completed 15 of 28 pass attempts for 160 yards and three touchdowns and he’s been intercepted once and sacked once. Roberts did not appear in the season opener at Mac but has appeared in each of the past three games. I expect that OC Galloway will continue to try to get Roberts into games to gain experience and believe the coaches have plenty of confidence in him.

And, a story in The Ontarion – Parisotto, Nieuwesteeg Shine on Top of Province about two Gryphon players who have won OUA Player of the Week honours this season.

Ryan Nieuwesteeg (right) and Nick Parisotto (left) received OUA honours in back-to-back weeks for outstanding special teams and defensive play, respectively. Photos by Matthew Azevedo.

Nick Parisotto (left) and Ryan Nieuwesteeg (right) received OUA honours in back-to-back weeks for outstanding special teams and defensive play, respectively. Photos by Matthew Azevedo.

*     *     *

Links to stories on OUA games this past weekend:

Claude Scilley’s review of OUA games on his sportkingston blog.

Guelph Mercury – OUA football report – Week 5.

Mike Hogan’s OUA Football Power Rankings: Week 6 has a Bruce Springsteen sound to it.

FRC – CIS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#5)

 RANK   PTS (1st Place) LAST WEEK

Laval (4-0)

300 (30)

 (1)

Calgary (3-1)

267

 (2)

Western (4-0)

241

(3)

McMaster (5-0)

206

(4)

Montreal (3-1)

175

(5)

Guelph (3-1)

147

(6)

Saskatchewan (3-1)

105

(7)

Mount Allison (4-0)

89

(8)

Concordia (4-0)

64

(9)

Manitoba (2-2)

47

(10)

Other teams receiving votes: Windsor (5), Laurier (2), Sherbrooke (2).

And, another interesting story from Canadian Interuniversity Sport – 2015 East-West Bowl: McGill to host CIS football prospect game in Montreal

This entry was posted in Game Review, Offense and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bye Week thoughts and news – Sept 28/14

  1. BirdDawg says:

    Some Smash Mouth football comming up in the next 3 weeks. Want 2 Wins from Windsor and Western. We will be top Dog in the OUA and it will be the Gryphons that will unseat Laval. Lets go Boys – thats why we are here!

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