Friday, August 24, 7:00 p.m.
Broadcast available at www.ck750.com (pregame show at 6:30 p.m.).
Records in 2011: Huskies: 5-3, second in Canada West (finished 2011 ranked tenth in the FRC-CIS Football Top Ten); Guelph: 2-6, eighth in the OUA.
Head to head history: Saskatchewan defeated the Gryphons 33-9 in the 1996 Churchill Bowl. Coaches Brian Towriss, Bart Arnold, Ed Carleton, Mike Harrington, Darryl Burko, Brent Schneider and Aaron Moser were all a part of that team, with Schneider and Moser players at the time.
What’s on the line: Roster spots for a lot of hopeful players. The Huskies will be testing out a new set of linebackers while looking for backup defensive backs and defensive linemen, backup and possibly starting receivers and backup running backs. Players who make a big splash on special teams may find themselves in the lineup before those ahead of them on the depth chart, so expect some big plays from a few faces we didn’t see in the lineup last year.
Guelph is in a similar position, looking to add many new faces after an underwhelming season in 2011. They had what some believe to be one of the better recruiting classes in the CIS (although these rankings are highly suspect, as few recruits out of major cities are known by these ranking organizations).
Roster moves: A few players will likely sit while they nurse injuries. Veterans like linebacker Seamus Neary are known commodities, so their health for next Friday against Alberta is more important.
What they’re saying: “We want to go and execute our offence, for sure. Defensively, we will probably keep it pretty simple. There’s no question that Alberta’s going to be down here watching the game, so we don’t want to be showing a lot of different things. We want to see our people and see what we do, but we’re not going to show everything.
Every time you play, you’re going for the win, but we’re not going to sacrifice playing time for the young guys just to go in an win it. We have a script of who is going to go in and when, and we expect to play well. It is an evaluation, not so much for who’s going to start at this point, but there’s anther 13 or 14 spots on the travel roster that we’ve got to evaluate.” Head Coach Brian Towriss on what he would like to get out of the game with Guelph.
““I was so excited when I received the call from Brian. I wanted to play a preseason game, as much for the coaches to get their act together as well as seeing the rookies perform. The last thing I want to do is play somebody that we’ll face in the next two months. I wanted to take the guys out of province and, preferably, fly. This is about teaching the guys; hopefully at some point during their careers they’ll have to travel to play a Vanier Cup or something, and this will be part of that training. I can’t thank Brian, his staff, and the organizers, enough; we’ve been quite demanding in terms of meeting rooms and practice times…they’ve been phenomenal. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great test – I know that western football is tough. I’ve actually encouraged our event staff to come out, because I’ve heard wonderful things about the Huskies’ game day experience, and I’ve seen some clips on YouTube – you guys do it right!”” Guelph Head Coach Stu Lang on the invitation to play the Huskies in Saskatoon.
What to expect: Expect a hard hitting game that both teams will come out to win. They have each spent time evaluating film of each others last two regular season games from 2011 and they will know a few tendencies and formations and have some surprises prepared. Windsor was a surprisingly strong opponent last year, and with the Gryphons’ excellent recruiting class, they should provide the Huskies with a good game. Who knows — they may even be the second team from east of Manitoba to beat the Huskies at Griffiths (Laval, in the 2006 Vanier Cup, is the only team of the six from the OUA, RESQ and AUS who have visited Griffiths to beat the Huskies at home, where they are 7-1 against eastern opponents).
This will be a great game to watch some of the future Huskie starters show their abilities. On defence, expect big games from defensive backs Travoy Martinez, Keegan Arneyek, Braden Richards and Spencer Krieger, linebackers Jordon Hilgers, Jaques Geyer and David Craig Penner and defensive linemen Brayden Twarynski, Glen Joorisity and Caleb Eidsvick. On offence, look for receivers Brydon Ozmun, Dan Laventure, Julan Lynch and Christian Gottenbos, running backs Shane Buchanan, Devin Logan, Jarvis James, Drew Bexson and Brandon Stewart, offensive linemen Clinton Reeder, Evan Johnson, Evan Rutherford and Ryan Breadner and quarterback Matt Bonaca. These players will be contributors to this team, some of them this year.
For many, this will be the first time they wear a uniform and experience the spectacle of game-day. Let’s make it extra special for them (and our opponents from Guelph) by providing a big, noisy crowd for them to play in front of.
Go, Dogs, go!