As a service to Top 10 voters we will publish previews for all 27 teams as they are made available to us.
Here are the capsule previews for the QUFL.
The Bishop’s Gaiters enter 2009 hoping to rebound from an up-and-down 2008, where they were in and out of the CIS rankings, but ultimately finished one win short of the playoffs. While the Gaiters return 18 starters, it is an understatement to say that there are significant losses to overcome.
Offensively, new co-ordinator Perry Marchese will be charged with leading the Gaiters into Life After Jamall. Running back Jamall Lee (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), the two-time All-Canadian, has left for the NFL and taken his 4,296 career yards with him.
The Gaiters’ attack will be led by quarterback Jesse Andrews (Pickering, Ont.), who passed for 1501 yards last season, and has made 22 consecutive starts. Fellow East-West bowl participant Shawn Gore (Don Mills, Ont.) will provide a key target in the slotback position, while Steven Turner (Brampton, Ont.) will look to take over the starting running back spot and continues to be a threat to score on every kick return. Mike Berta (St. Mary’s, Ont.) and Philip Sauer (Granby, Que.) will anchor the Gaiters’ offensive line.
Defensively, the Gaiters have lost James Yurichuk (Brampton, Ont.) to the B.C. Lions, but will return Kyle Jones (Mississauga, Ont.), who spent the summer on the Toronto Argonauts’ practice roster and led the team with 5.5 sacks last year. The secondary will be led by Nick Poloniato (Hamilton, Ont.), who had five interceptions last season, and Harrison Maloney (Thurso, Que.), the 2008 QUFL Rookie of the Year.
Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator: Leroy Blugh
Defensive Coordinator : Ray Gagnon
Offensive Coordinator: Perry Marchese
Head coach Gerry McGrath is looking forward to greeting approximately 90 Stingers when Concordia opens football camp on Aug. 14.
“We’re going to be a young, feisty team,” says McGrath, now in his 10th year as head coach. “Going into camp I expect to see a solid defence and an offence that’s more exciting than it has been in a lot of years.”
Quarterback Rob Mackay will lead a talented, veteran attack. He returns after missing last season and half of 2007 due to injury. Mackay will rely heavily on receiver Liam Mahoney and slotback Cory Watson.
Newcomers on offence include RB Jerome Hofferden (Mississauga, Ont.), a transfer from South Dakota State, WR Scott Mironowicz (Kirkland, Que.) from John Abbott and FB Ray Tonye (Pierrefonds, Que.) from Vieux Montréal.
The Stingers return two all-stars on defence – LB Cory Greenwood (Kingston, Ont.) and Nicholas Arsenault-Hum (Delson, Que.). Key recruits to watch include: CB Nathan Taylor (LaSalle, Que.) from Vanier and DT James Clement (Dorval, Que.) from John Abbott.
Numbers of players expected in camp: 88 38 newcomers, 50 veterans
Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator : Gerry McGrath
Defensive Coordinator : Warren Craney
Special Teams Coordinator : Pete Reginbald
Pre-season game :
Sunday Aug. 30, 2 p.m. Concordia vs Wilfrid Laurier
Laval University Rouge et Or
The defending Vanier Cup champion Rouge et Or went a perfect 12-0 in 2008 en route to their fifth title in its 14-year history. Laval went 8-0 during the regular season and 2-0 in the QUFL playoffs to earn its sixth conference crown.
Standout quarterbacks Benoit Groulx and Cesar Sanchez-Hernandez return for their fifth and final season of CIS football. Groulx, the 2008 Hec Creighton Award winner as the player of the year in Canada brings leadership and stability to a Laval offence that will feature many new faces in 2009. Much like the receiving corps, there will be a lot of jobs up for grabs amongst linebackers.
Notable departures include: Étienne Légaré, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, Vincent Turgeon, Mathieu Parent, Steve Landry, Guillaume Allard-Caméus et Matt Leblanc.
Recruits to watch: Tristan Grenon (QB), Jean-Alexandre Bernier (DL), Philippe Lemire (DL), Yannick Morin-Plante (REC), Frederic Plesius (LB), Daniel Shcober (DB), Guillaume Rioux (REC), Junior Seydou-Haïdara (REC), Dominic Boisvert (DL).
Head Coach : Glen Constantin
Defensive Coordinator : Marc Fortier
Offensive Coordinator : Justin Éthier
Special Teams Coordinator : Francesco Pepe Esposito
Pre-season game :
Sunday Aug. 30, 1 p.m. Western Ontario vs Laval U. (PEPS)
Head coach Sonny Wolfe returns for his third year and his Redmen are in the 129th season of football at McGill University. The Redmen open training camp with 48 returnees (24 on offence, 24 on defence) to go along with 32 new faces.
McGill has only lost six starters, four on offence — including two-time all-star quarterback Matt Connell and receiver Erik Galas, who signed with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. Directing the McGill passing attack will be 6-foot-3, 193-pound sophomore Ryne Bondy of Richmond Hill, Ont. Bondy will be challenged by freshman Jonathan (“JC”) Collin, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound pivot who led Champlain College to the collegiate AA Bol d’Or championship.
Leading the receiving corps is Charles-Antoine Sinotte, a 2007 all-Canadian from Trois-Rivières, Que.
The running back position is deep, led by senior Chris Hayes (Winnipeg) and Concordia-transfer Andrew Hamilton, a 6-foot, 200-pound Montreal native who averaged 8.4 yards per carry during the 2006 season.
On defence, the Redmen backfield will be spearheaded by senior Anthony Lukca of St. Laurent, Que., who has been among the top two tacklers in the nation over the past two years. On special teams, kicker Austin Anderson of Canmore, Alta., the son of legendary NFL kicker Gary Anderson, returns after missing six games due to injury.
University of Montréal Carabins
The Carabins are counting on the return of a number of veterans at key positions in their hopes of earning the school’s first conference title in 2009. Despite the number of veteran players returning to the Carabins, there are some interesting battles to follow during training camp.
The most disputed position in camp could be running back where highly touted recruit Rotrand Sené of Montreal, along with second year ball carriers Patrick Jean-Marie, Montreal, and Kevin Kwateng, Montreal, will duel for supremacy at the position left vacant by Hantz Boursiquot, Montreal, who completed his fifth year of CIS eligibility in 2008.
Montreal’s aerial attack will once again be guided by fourth year pivot Marc-Olivier Brouillette, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., who looks to hook up with his favourite target, third year receiver Frank Bruno of Montreal. The two have an amazing chemistry having previously played together at Vanier College, however injuries have prevented the duo from playing a complete season at the UdeM.
Head Coach : Marc Santerre
Defensive Coordinator : Denis Touchette
Offensive Coordinator : Pat Gregory
Special Teams Coordinator : Spiro Feradouros
University of Sherbrooke Vert & Or
Coming off its best campaign in school history at 5-3, the Vert & Or from Sherbrooke look to take the next step in 2009. With 90 players expected to attend camp including 28 rookies, the Vert & Or will be a younger squad this year as recruits and young veterans are expected to step in to fill the voids created by the departures of all-star wide receiver Alain Dorval of Quebec City, running back Joseph Mroué, Quebec City, defensive backs Sébastien Jalbert, Laval, Que., and David Vaillancourt, Laval, Que., as well as offensive lineman Mathieu Lefaivre of Charlesbourg, Que.
Expect to see rookie ball carrier Gabriel Bernard-Perron, Magog, Que., formerly of the Volontaires du Cégep de Sherbrooke, along with full back Vincent Carrière-Garwood, Saint-Bruno, Que., (Cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and defensive back Olivier Dauphinais, Beloeil, Qué., (Collège Édouard-Montpetit) challenging for a spot in the starting line-up.
Pre-season game :
Aug. 29 – 1 p.m. U. of Ottawa vs U. of Sherbrooke