Once again, Huskie Football will be showcased on an international stage as three Huskies participate in the third-annual International Bowl 19 and under football game (formerly known as the USA vs. The World game). The game will be played on Wednesday, February 1.
Quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, who is entering his third year with the Huskies in 2012, will join offensive lineman Jordan Arkko, who is entering his second year with the team. Quarterback Drew Burko, who red-shirted in 2011, was practicing with the IFAF (International Federation of American Football) Developmental Team, but has been playing so well that he has been promoted to the World Team active roster for the game.
Huskies Head Coach Brian Towriss is in Austin to take in the practices and the game. He reports that Burko, who received praise from former CIS quarterback and current York University coach Mike Faulds earlier this week, will likely get some playing time on Wednesday night, while Gilbert-Knorren, who has been nursing an injury, will be seeing action as a slot receiver. Arkko has impressed throughout the week and will be the starting right tackle.
The Huskies had four players named to this team last year and in 2010 (not including current Huskie Jerit Lambert, who played in 2010 as a member of the Edmonton Wildcats), which speaks well of their recruiting efforts over the past four years. “It’s a testament to some of the talent we’ve been able to recruit over the past few years,” agrees Towriss. “I’m sure Jordan (Arkko) is looking forward to playing in this game, in the footsteps of some pretty good offensive linemen. He was rookie of the year and was picked to play in this game, and is certainly on track to become our next great one.”
This is a unique opportunity for young players to not only play against top-calibre American players, but also to learn from the World Team coaching staff, which is headed by Western Mustangs Head Coach Greg Marshall for the second straight year. Learning new techniques and plays from new coaches is something Towriss is encouraging his players to take advantage of. “I’m telling them to take advantage of the opportunity and learn from it,” he said. “I want them to go down and work hard, but also learn from a new coach, get a new perspective and really make the most of the opportunity to play against some of America’s best.
“In all cases, I think it’s good exposure for them, and certainly from a cultural perspective, it doesn’t hurt them, either. Hopefully the guys down here for this game will come back and pass on some great memories and give some other young guys the incentive to work hard and maybe get a shot at playing in this game next year.”
The game will be played tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. and will be shown live on CBS Sports Network, which is available in Western Canada on Bell ExpressVu. For those of us on Shaw, Shaw Direct, SaskTel Max and Access, we will have to wait for the delayed webcast, which will be available on USA Football’s website 72 hours after the game is broadcast. The live webcast will be available for those outside Canada and the USA here.
Below are the first two episodes of the International Bowl 2012 documentary: