Finally! CIS, OUA & Guelph Gryphons football is back in the news.
A short excerpt from a Guelph Tribune article – Gryphon football training camp opens Sunday:
Gryphon interim head coach Kevin MacNeill said the defending OUA champions are chomping at the bit to take it one step further this year.
“There’s not a lot of guys who are content with what happened last year. At the end of the day we lost our last game,” said MacNeill, who takes over the head coaching reigns from Stu Lang.
“So until we don’t lose our last game there’s a lot of guys looking to get better,” MacNeill said.
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There are a couple of must-read articles on the Gryphon Football Team App. If you’re not already following it you should be. That is where a lot of the Gryphon football news will be coming from this fall. Former Guelph Mercury sports writer Rob Massey is doing most of the writing.
Some highlights from Gryphon coaches ready for camp.
There’ll be the usual turnover among the players, but the Gryphon coaching staff has also undergone some changes.
“There’s been a few changes, but the core of the group is all back,” offensive coordinator Todd Galloway said.
He and special forces coordinator Bill Brown are back in the same roles, but head coach Stu Lang stepped down and Kevin MacNeill moved over from defensive coordinator to replace Lang. Adam Grandy, the assistant defensive coordinator last year, is the defensive coordinator this year.
“Continuity and staff continuity has been huge in our success in the past four years,” Grandy said. “With the few changes with our staff, I think it’ll be fine because we’ve all for the most part been together here.”
“Even though Adam and myself are in different positions this year, we were already kind of looking toward, even in the last couple of years, taking those next steps,” MacNeill said. “My stray thoughts or my daydreams were always ‘What kind of things would I like to do with the program if I had the opportunity.’”
With this year’s top coaching positions all being held by members of last year’s coaching staff, the transition was a smooth one.
“It was all hiring from within so everyone’s got a very comfortable feel and working relationship and that’s important,” MacNeill said. “It’s been a tremendous transition and it hasn’t been that unusual.”
For all the coaching changes there have been, there really aren’t many new faces.
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The next story – Players ready for training camp – focuses on the level of commitment there is among the Gryphon players and how the players have adjusted to the coaching changes.
A lot of the Gryphon players have been on the field throughout the off-season as many stayed in Guelph to work on their conditioning with strength and conditioning coach Jordan Foley. Most weekends, the captains ran skellys (drills involving the defence going against the offence) and most of those not in town drove in for them.
“We had a guy driving down from Sudbury,” Gryphon interim head coach Kevin MacNeill said. “There are guys very engaged to want to improve and I think that’s important. You need to have that core leadership of your players who want to be here and want to be better.”
Those off-season workouts are thought to be key to a good season. Prior to last season, the Gryphons had many players stay in town to prepare together and that helped in the Yates Cup win. More stayed this year.
My favourite quote is from QB James Roberts …
“Now that we’ve got the Yates, OK, that was a good appetizer, but we really want what really matters,” Roberts said. “We want that last game to be won and finish the year with that last game being a win and that’s what is definitely on everyone’s mind.
“No Vanier is won in training camp. That’s just how it is. Realistically, we’re all hungry and we just want to show that Guelph can be on the map, that we’re not a one-and-done. That we’re legit for a long time.”
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CTV Kitchener talks about the opening of training camps at WLU, UW and Guelph.
I love that Stevenson uses a photo from a Ryan Nieuwesteeg punt return for TD at WLU.