While Coach Towriss wasn’t particularly pleased with the offense’s lack of scoring in the second half of Friday’s win over Alberta, no one would be disappointed with the first half effort which led to a 29 – 0 lead at the break. The offensive output was particularly impressive considering that position switches, and new player additions, resulted in the Huskie offense having only 4 starters who were returning to the same starting position that they held in 2011 (Mike Fuller, Brad Nehring, Jordan Arkko, and Jeff Moore). Following Friday’s game, Huskie Outsider briefly spoke with two of the starters, and one backup, who have new roles in the Huskie offense.
The offensive line was, as a unit, one of the question marks coming into the season considering #1 draft choice, Ben Heenan, moving on to the CFL, and the graduation of Darren Hinds. The rebuilt line looked good against the Bears, not allowing a sack and opening some holes for a quartet of running backs. Evan Greff was a key part of the unit’s performance, and the 6′-5″, 315 pound, left tackle was excited and proud to make his first career start for the Huskies after having good showings in previous non-conference games. “It was an amazing experience. It’s been a long time coming, with a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hard work, and it feels great.” Greff spoke of the unit’s preparation leading to their solid performance. “We had a lot of 1 on 1′s in practice, to work on protection, and a lot of team time to put things together. The biggest thing is communication – as a unit we work well. We still need to get better though, and we have to bear down, go to work, fix the mistakes we made, and get going.”
The Huskies used their big lead against Alberta as an opportunity to give some of their young, freshmen, running backs some carries in the second half. Jarvis James was one of these freshmen tailbacks, and he gained valuable experience by playing a few series and having 4 carries. “The speed was fast,” Jarvis said of his CIS debut. “It’s a challenge to get used to the game speed, and all the plays that they’re throwing at you at once.” Jarvis also mentioned the physical play that fans saw from the Huskies on Friday. “We needed to be physical, and when we got the opportunity we hit them hard.”
Braeden George made his first appearance at wide receiver for the Huskies, following a redshirt year and 4 seasons at slotback. He had a productive night with 2 receptions, including a 47 yard reception for a touchdown. “The offense came out and did some good things. We had a couple of hiccups, but we’ll clear that up in film tomorrow and in practice next week.” George was asked about his move out to wide receiver. “I’m loving it. Having been with the team for 6 years, it wasn’t too much of a learning curve; there were a couple of issues with different coverages and different reads that I have to make, but at the same time I feel comfortable with any position in our offense after this many years. It’s a nice change. And we’ve got Charlie (Power), who is more than able to do what I used to do in my old position at slotback; we’re excited to see him make some plays as well.” Braeden was already starting to look ahead to next weekend’s game with Manitoba, a team who many expect to be much improved this season. “They’ll be tough, and no team in the league can be overlooked – CanWest has a history of having this reputation. We’ll prepare really hard this week, try to correct the mistakes that we made, and get ready for the physical team that Manitoba typically fields.”