The much anticipated Stingers football season is right around the corner, as the Stingers look to build off last season success in phase two of the Mickey Donovan reclamation project
The Concordia Stingers football team will kick off their 2015 season on home turf when they host the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Friday, Sept. 4.
Optimism is in the air as the Stingers followed a winless 2013 campaign with last season’s 5-3 record, their first winning season since posting an identical result in 2008.
“This conference is so strong, I feel it’s the best conference in the country,” said Stingers’ Head Coach Mickey Donovan. “The West is very competitive this year, but this is unique. Last year we took every opponent seriously. In this conference you have to. Even if we get to the top I’m not going to tell you that we could look past a team, because you can’t,” he added.
The Stingers have brought in roughly 65 freshmen, 35 of which will make the active roster. With such large number of inexperienced players, Donovan expressed that his family-first approach to building team chemistry is state advantageous for young players’ development.
“We don’t act like someone we’re not, we don’t pretend to be someone we’re not. But mainly its all about open arms, doors, concept and we’re here for them,” said Donovan, who earned RSEQ Coach of the Year honours in 2014.
“We have to make it comfortable for any student athlete that comes through the door so that way they get on the field, they get in the classroom, they go in the weight room and everything is natural to them like they’ve been here before.”
According to the second-year head coach, the Stingers have five fifth-year returning players on the roster. As a result, the team’s lack of veteran presence could hurt them against conference juggernauts Laval and reigning national champions Montreal.
The Stingers have lost a slew of cornerstone players such as: three-year starter cornerback Kevin Prempeh, linebacker Travis Brent, and All-Canadian halfback Kris Robinson.
Donovan, however, is confident that a new regime of veterans will be able to carry the load left behind by the departed Stingers.
“Roman Grozman, Jamal Henry, Keegan Treloar, Arto Khatchikian, Mikael Charland, Rashawn Perry, Andrew Barlett all have a veteran presence and guys look up to them,” said Donovan. “All these guys are great leaders and we don’t have too many vets here right now, but there are a lot of guys that they have to look over and help out, that’s part [of] being in this family,” he added.
The team faces a large question mark as to who will claim the starting job, but Donovan says that the four potential quarterbacks each bring unique and innate characteristics that set them apart from one another. In all likelihood, the Stingers should have three Quarterbacks dressed for the Sept. 4 season opener.
“I think our games are going to be challenging week to week, but I can’t tell myself that I don’t know if we could beat Laval, that I don’t know if we could beat Montreal,” stated Donovan. “I definitely go in and say, we have a shot. It’s all about how we execute and how we get them ready to perform and it comes on them when the whistle blows.”
Edit: A previous version of the article stated that Donovan’s family-first approach to building team chemistry was “state disadvantageous for young players’ development” rather than advantageous. We regret the error.