As always, I enjoyed the Friends of Gryphon Football regional reception in Toronto a week ago Thursday. It was great to have 3 current players – Shaq Munroe, Brandon Gordon and Gabe Ferraro – and young alumni like Curtis Rukavina and Saxon Lindsey there, to join alumni from the program back to the late 1960s. [I’m talking about you Fred Dunbar.] I wasn’t the only one to enjoy myself.
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For me there are two highlights. First, it’s the people, whether I’m meeting new recruits and their families or alumni for the first time, or seeing old acquaintances. Second, it is hearing the coaches talk about what is going on in the program. The inside stuff. The type of info that fans crave but you rarely hear. I don’t even report a lot of it on this blog.
The support of coaches was again very obvious with Brian Cluff, Bill Brown, Mike Aloisio Todd Galloway and Stu Lang all making the trip to Toronto. FoGF President Randy Dimitroff asked multiple questions of the coaches as well as giving the audience an opportunity to ask questions.
There was lots of openness and honesty from the coaches. Dimitroff tried to handcuff Cluffer with a loaded question asking for a comparison between his 2015 DLs and those of the 1990s, specifically Billy Vastis who was present. Coach Cluff handled it beautifully talking about the former All Canadian Vastis as an all round player who excelled both as a run stopper and a pass rusher.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Galloway did the most speaking. He went into detail talking about his quarterbacks when asked about them. Like Coach MacNeill at Tour Stop #1, Galloway had high praise for James Roberts. The future is bright with Roberts playing so well as a relative youngster, and being only the second sophomore QB to win a Yates Cup in the past 20 years. [I think Will Finch in 2013 was the other.]
But how is our depth? According to Galloway, Theo Landers made great strides as a freshman. At the beginning of the season Galloway would have had some serious concerns if Landers had been forced to play. But, by the end of the year Galloway said he was confident they could win if Landers had to start. He looks for Landers to push Roberts in 2016 and definitely earn more playing time.
Scout team QB David Luke from Halifax was a bit of a question mark heading into the 2015 season. The coaches couldn’t have been more happy with what he brought to the scout team. Luke was the Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year and has earned the opportunity to compete for playing time.
In some surprising news Coach Galloway informed everyone present that he had a commitment from an NCAA transfer quarterback out of Georgia. A Canadian, this recently committed recruit had played prep football in the States and redshirted as a freshman with an FCS school during the 2015 season. While he didn’t play as an NCAA freshman Galloway really likes his potential. He is CIS eligible for 2016.
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A special thanks to UofG alumnus David Quinn, General Manager of the International Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, for accomodating us for a second consecutive year. Even better that IP’s Harry’s Bar had Wellington Brewery’s County Dark Ale on tap.
Speaking of Wellington Brewery, they will host the next FoGF regional reception in their Iron Duke Room on Friday night. This is Yates Cup Tour Stop #3. If you are in the Guelph, Cambridge or Ktichener-Waterloo area and want to come to the event, simply respond to the invitation below. For future dates click here.