With just two games remaining in their regular season, and at risk of missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Stingers need to bring some much-needed intensity, solid individual play, and good play-calling against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or and McGill to do so.
We decided to ask head coach Brad Collinson and offensive coordinator Alex Suprenant on their thoughts about their upcoming pursuit of that elusive final playoff spot.
Brad Collinson: “We gotta fight and take it one game at a time. We have a big game this weekend. If we win, we’re in. We had an off game against Laval, and that was…unfortunate. All we want is to continue progressing and I think we have the team and the offence to compete with anybody. Our defence practices with good intensity, they fly around. They need to run around the ball and get some turnovers.”
Alex Suprenant: “We just need to execute. We did against Sherbrooke at home, we did well against Montreal the week after, we had a bad one against Laval. We need to focus on what we need to do on the field, and if we do that we should be good. [Adam Vance] is our leader, he’s one of our best players, I’m pretty sure he’ll bounce back from the game he had against Laval. We expect that James Tyrrell, Jeremy Murphy, Jacob Salvail, maybe Vince Alessandrini will have big games. Our running backs are young, but they did some good things the past games. We’re going to make sure everyone can touch the ball and spread it out as much as possible.”
Here are what our sports editors (and myself) think of the season so far and how the Stingers can take their last two games.
Matthew Ohayon – Sports Editor: “Quarterbacks and running backs are only as good as their offensive line. Vance has done really well when given the proper protection to use his arm but the running game has struggled. If the offence wants to find sustainable success to make a playoff push, the running game needs to get going so that Vance and Surprenant can keep defenses guessing. Musangu, Foster and Mather have the talent to be an amazing backfield, but the offensive line needs to give them some help in creating holes to explode through.”
“Another offensive note; this team needs to finish off their drives with six points. These few games remaining are absolutely crucial and this team cannot be leaving points on the table. Turnovers on third down and field goals will not cut it — they need to put up touchdowns. It sounds obvious, but it’s been a major problem with the team this season. They put together methodical, time-killing drives but get stalled and have to settle for field goals. I know at a certain point, you are what your record says what you are, but this team is a lot more capable of what the stat-lines show.”
“On the defensive side of the ball, it’s quite simple. The Stingers only have seven sacks on the season — they need more pressure from their defensive line. Opposing QBs have way too much time to find open receivers and running backs have way too big of gaps to run through. If they are able to tighten that part of their defence up, it will make life so much easier against Sherbrooke and McGill.”
Alec Brideau – Assistant Sports Editor: “While there are surely things to fix on defence after a 74-0 loss, the other side of me’s thinking it’s the third time of the season the Stingers score six points or less in a game. Not many expect the Stingers to limit their opponent to a touchdown or two, but the reality is that you rarely win a game without scoring. With two games left, the Stingers will need to limit their offensive errors and make sure they’re the ones on offence most of the time. Simple plays and great runs could be the keys for those games.”
Matthew Coyte – Managing Editor: “Despite some really positive progressions this season on offence from players like Vance, Murphy and Tyrrell, the reality is that the run game needs to be better. Teams like Laval and Montreal are so good because they can burn you on the ground and in the air, and that combination is what puts defences on their heels. I would love to see Kevin Foster and Glody Musangu get more reps in the next two weeks and see what they can do.”
“The other key is on defence. The team’s struggled to stop drives and is the last place in most statistical categories, despite having some of the division’s best players. There’s a lot that could go better, but I’ll say that if the Stingers can stifle the run against Sherbrooke and McGill, they’ll give themselves a good chance to pick up some wins.For the Stingers to make the playoffs, it’s just going to take the offensive, defensive and special teams aspects of their game showing up and coming together at the same time.”
“The division’s been in a blender all year. McGill blows out Concordia, the Stingers almost beat Montreal twice, Sherbrooke actually DOES beat Montreal (the mad lads), Montreal smokes McGill. Nothing makes sense, the world is chaos, and not a single spot in the standings is determined yet. We haven’t seen the RSEQ this exciting in a long time.”
Photo by Mackenzie Lad