Team faced challenges with Collinson coming in so close to start of year
The past 12 months for the Concordia Stingers football team have been a roller-coaster ride. Former head coach Mickey Donovan left the team last January for the Montreal Alouettes, and his brother Pat, who was the interim head coach, quit last May.
Current head coach Brad Collinson took over in June, and the team finished the season with a 2-6 record. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013, when they went 0-8. The head coach was on CJLO Sports on Oct. 29 and talked about the challenges of taking over the team so close to the start of the season.
“You don’t know the student-athletes so there’s that progression and adaptation,” Collinson said. “So for them, not knowing me as well, trying to get our points across on things we wanted to do and things we wanted to instill took some time.”
Despite the quick changes, Collinson is still happy about how his players adapted. “The kids bought into what we were trying to do,” he added. “So that, moving forward, will be very helpful and they’ll be able to teach the new kids coming in how we want to do things.”
In addition to the new coach, the Stingers also had a new starting quarterback. Adam Vance took over from Trenton Miller, who graduated at the end of last season. Miller was hurt towards the end of last year, so Vance did get a few starts, but that was under Donovan’s offence.
Vance finished the season with 1,635 yards passing, 56.4 per cent completion, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions in eight starts. Despite throwing the most interceptions in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) this season, he had the second-most passing yards, behind Université de Laval Rouge et Or’s Hugo Richard.
“I’m sure he’s not as happy as he wants to be with his season but, moving forward, I think he can build on this,” Collinson said. “Hopefully, for next year, he’ll come in prepared and know what to expect as a starter.”
Vance had the luxury of having Jarryd Taylor available as a receiver. He finished the season with 24 catches for a league-high 527 yards, and two touchdowns. Collinson expects the third-year player to be a major part of his team next season.
“He had some really big games then teams caught up to what he was doing, so he can grow from this as well,” the Stingers football head coach said.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Stingers gave up the most points in the RSEQ, allowing 38 points per game—no other team allowed more than 30. They had only 10 forced turnovers on defence, compared to 25 on offence, once again the worst in each category. Rushing was their biggest weakness, allowing 6.9 yards per carry, and opponents scored 15 touchdowns against the Stingers on the ground.
For the head coach, fixing the defensive problems is a priority in the offseason. “We’re going to look ourselves in the mirror and see what we need to do to get better,” Collinson said, adding that they’re going back to the drawing board.
Coaching job posted
Concordia University posted a job opening for the Stingers football head coach position on Oct. 30. Stingers athletics director D’Arcy Ryan said it’s just a human resource formality, since they didn’t go through this process with Collinson in June.
“After Mickey Donovan quit last January, the job was never posted, so we’re just through the regular process,” Ryan said. “Collinson was not relieved of his duties and he’s still under contract with us.”
With files from Matthew Coyte. Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.