Yesterday, Huskie Outsider discussed the positive outlook for the Huskie defence in 2012. The defensive secondary might have the best combination of returning starters and emerging depth of any unit, offence or defence, on the team. Each starter from last season returns, there is plenty of emerging depth that will challenge for playing time, and some promising new recruits have been added. Added to this is the possibility that Keenan MacDougall may return this fall after sitting out 2011 with injury. MacDougall was drafted in the 3rd round of this spring’s CFL draft.
“The starters have emerged a little bit,” commented defensive backs coach, Wade Dupont. “They progressed very well in the winter.” Coach Dupont then went on to discuss the depth in the secondary. “Holy, the depth chart gets very blurry after the starters. There is lots of competition to be had in the fall. The addition of the rover being a DB spot is kind of new for us coaches, and the players too. It’s an additional spot that we’ve got to deal with now, trying to find a player that fits into that position.”
One player who definitely turned some heads during spring camp is cornerback, Keegan Arnyek. Arnyek came in as a highly touted recruit, and indeed found himself with the first team during spring scrimmage. “He’s an amazing athlete,” commented Coach Dupont on Arnyek. “There’s just a little size and strength that he needs, and then he’ll be competing for a starting spot relatively soon. He’s a very talented athlete, sees the game very well, and is one of the best high school cover guys that we’ve seen come into a spring camp like this in a long time.” Arnyek’s speed was on display at Griffiths Stadium two weeks ago, when he became the gold medalist in the 100 metre dash at the provincial high school track and field championships.
The Huskies have enjoyed a presence at safety that is second to none in the CIS, with current starter Bryce McCall and his predecessor, Dylan Barker, manning the position for the past 7 seasons. Coach Dupont was asked about the safety position, and who the successor to Bryce McCall may be in the future. “Geoff Hughes has been the guy who’s been taking reps, and Andrew Abbs has just played a tremendous role, utility wise. It just seems like we move him from corner to halfback to safety – he can do it all. If something were to happen to Bryce during the season, we would have a very good competition between those two.”
Three defensive back recruits were introduced at this year’s Dogs’ Breakfast – Arnyek, Brendan Ernst, and Braxton Lawrence. A fourth, Joey Todd, formerly of the Regina Thunder, was also in camp and will suit up for the Dogs this fall. “I’ve been getting prepped pretty good by playing with the Thunder,” Todd commented following spring camp. “When I talked with the coaches, it was Huskies all the way. This is where I’ve always wanted to play – it’s a dream come true for me.” Todd will be doing everything he can to be ready for main camp. “I’m one of those guys who’s always in the gym and working hard. Football is everything to me. I’d also like to come up to Saskatoon a few times during the summer to take part in some of the players’ throwing sessions.”