With the last offseason departure of oft-injured starting quarterback Francois Dessureault, the Stingers enter year two of the Mickey Donovan rebuild charged with the daunting task of finding a viable replacement under center.
“You know there were some nerves,” said freshman Quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren following the Stinger’s 21-18 preseason victory over Queen’s Golden Gaels. Gilbert-Knorren who bounced back from a shaky start after coming in for relief of preseason starter Trenton Miller, was quick to provide perspective on the current state of the Stinger’s precarious quarterback situation.
“I think we complement each other,” said Gilbert-Knorren. “Trenton [Miller] is just great at getting the ball out quick, making those reads and getting the ball downfield, whereas I can still throw the ball downfield, and I can change defenses with the way they scheme [to defend], I think it’s a great competition and we make each other better.”
Gilbert-Knorren, the supremely talented dual threat quarterback is locked in a tight training camp battle with fellow first-year transfer Trenton Miller, the American pocket passer with the golden arm.
“It’s still up in the air,” said Stingers’ Head Coach Mickey Donovan, when asked who will be the opening day starter. “It’s a position that’s pretty competitive [this year] and it’s going to be a tough call for us. We feel we have some great quarterbacks here, and on Sept. 4 we’ll know who’s going in.”
Despite the coaching staffs insistence regarding the uncertainty surrounding who will be the Stingers starting quarterback, sources close to the team have stated that Trenton Miller is on the inside track for the starting spot. Miller’s pro-style experience and pocket presence seems to be a better fit for offensive coordinator Matt Connell’s system. However, familiarity may prove to breed contempt as Miller’s strong arm and limited mobility channel shades of the ghost of Reid Quest (Concordia’s quarterback in the 2013 winless season).
“If Trenton wins it outright we’ll be able to use Jahlani at other positions, running back, receiver, returner, whatever position it may be. [We] just gotta get the ball in his hands,” said Donovan. Conversely, Donovan also stated, “If Jahlani is the guy, it’s hard to put Trenton in the game at another position. It’s a competitive spot, and they’re both doing a great job.”
The contingency plans seem to already be place if the forgone conclusion of Miller’s starting quarterback coronation comes to fruition. However, Gilbert-Knorren’s ability to extend plays behind suspect offensive line play could tip the starting quarterback odds in his favour.
“I’d love to be the opening day starter, but at the end of the day it comes down to what’s best for the team,” said a confident Trenton Miller.
With the top two ranked teams in Canada—Laval and University of Montreal—competing in the RSEQ conference, the Stingers will need to rely on solid quarterback play to be able to assert themselves in Canada’s toughest football conference. All eyes will be under center come Sept. 4 at 7 p.m., as the Stingers open their season against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or under the lights at Loyola’s Ed Meagher Sports Complex.