Concordia University, brace yourself for a major surprise this upcoming season.
This surprise will be swift, tough and unbeatable: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2002 Concordia Stingers football team.
A major change will affect this year’s edition of the Maroon and Gold: This is the first season in which the QIFC interlocks games with the AUFC, which will send the Stingers down to the Maritimes to face the defending Vanier Cup champions St. Mary’s Huskies.
Coupled with the addition of the University of Montreal to the league, this will not only extend the regular season schedule by two extra games, but will also pit the Stingers against teams they have never competed against, such as Acadia and St. Mary’s.
This will present a new challenge to not only the players, but to the coaching staff as well.
“It comes down to what the athletes can do,” Stingers’ head coach Gerry McGrath said.
“Playing teams that we’ve never competed against will take out the strategic aspect of coaching,” he said.
Defence should be the Stingers’ strong point this season.
The Concordia squad can expect big things from a defensive line made up mostly of veterans. McGrath puts great faith in his defence, so much so that he believes that this year’s defensive line might be the best that the Stingers have ever had.
Offensively, the Stingers could run into some problems, with six out of 12 starting positions on the line filled by rookies.
“We need to work on our timing to make our offence work better,” veteran Alex Oliveira said.
“We have a few kinks to work out on offence, but with a lot of new guys on the line, timing will help us run the ball better.”
Furthermore, quarterback Hugo Fortier, in his first year as starter, should pay special attention to up-and-comer John Bond, hailing from Plymouth, MA, who might be out for the first-string position himself.
According to McGrath, Bond does not fully understand the offence yet, but with his quickness and strong arm, everything will fall into place in time.
Presently, the coaching staff is counting on the defence and special teams to hold the team in until the offence can gel together.
McGrath is grateful for a slew of talent that graces the 2002 roster, allowing the Stingers to remain rested and healthy.
“We have a lot of depth this season, and a team with depth can afford to rotate
its players in order to keep everyone healthy,” he said.
“It would be a silly coaching error not to use the depth.”