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Coach Towriss, players, and staff excited to begin season

The coaches have held numerous meetings, the players are all back in Saskatoon, and preparations are in place for the start of training camp this Friday. Head coach Brian Towriss sat down with Huskie Outsider yesterday afternoon to look ahead to a season that sees several new faces on both the players’ roster and the coaching staff.

“We’ve had a core group of 20 – 25 players who have trained here all summer,” BT said of the team’s off-season workouts. “They meet twice a week in the mornings and then throw a couple of times each week as well. We know that those guys are real fit and and have trained hard. The rest of the team is trickling back into Saskatoon now – we had 35 guys out last night. Guys like Twarynski, Kotania, and Travoy are back; Travoy looks very fit.”

Head Coach Brian Towriss (Derek Mortensen/Electric Umbrella)

While the camp doesn’t officially begin until Friday, testing will take place on Thursday. “We’ll have a short meeting at 9:00 a.m. and be on the field for testing at 9:30. We’ll then have short offensive and defensive meetings where we give them their playbooks, then we’ll do all of the eligibility and sports information stuff that we need to get through. We’ll then have offence and defence install meetings; some of them will have meetings Thursday night, after supper, regarding a baseline concussion study as well. We’ll then be ready to hit the ground running on Friday.”

Coach Towriss was asked about the challenge faced by the coaching staff changes, considering that they occurred after spring camp. “It certainly changed the amount of time that myself and Coach Harrington were here; we were here pretty much all of June. Our offensive staff has also met 5 times in August and I think we’re pretty much ready to go now; we spent 3 days on the running game and two days on the pass.” Fans will notice some differences with the offence this year. “You’ll likely see more 2 back sets, which is a trend right across the country. We aren’t throwing out the whole thing and starting over; there’s some new terminology and some new emphasis in certain areas.” He was asked who among himself and Coaches Harrington and Flory will be sending in the signals. “I’ll handle the play-calling at the start of the year, certainly with input from those guys. We still have to work out the signals for sending the plays in; I don’t think we’re too far away from the quarterbacks having headsets – with the complexity on offence now you almost need them. Beginning day 1 of camp we’ll be working on signalling plays in.”

Former Coach Brent Schneider carried a heavy load with handling the duties of both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. BT was asked if having a solely dedicated QB coach, the recently added Laurence Nixon, would benefit Drew Burko and the others at the position. “They’ll certainly see a little more individual time than they saw before. Laurence has spent some time with Drew during the summer because we’re allowed to have a few individual sessions. Drew has already said that there are a couple of things that he has altered; there’s a few different things that we’re going to emphasize from a technical perspective. We were also hardly under centre the last couple of years and I think you’ll see some of that.”

The Huskies brought in a very good recruiting class this spring, and while the players joining the Huskies from CJFL are expected to contribute right away there will also be some high school recruits that will avoid a redshirt and be on the roster this season. “One of the offensive linemen may see some action. RB’s Tyler Chow and Kayden Johnson have a chance to play, depending on our depth. On defence, Gabe Simons has a chance based on where he’s at physically. Defensive lineman Evan Machibroda is another guy with a good chance to be on the roster this season. Those are the guys, along with the junior recruits who have the best chance to play, and we’ll see if a few others are ready to contribute this year as well.”

Along with the offensive line, the linebackers’ unit had a few questions about depth during spring camp, with three veterans being on the sidelines. “For sure, we don’t have a ton of depth at linebacker, but we’ll have 3 proven guys back that weren’t on the field during spring camp. They’re all veteran guys that we know can play, along with Brad Kotania; that gives us 4 proven linebackers for 2 spots (the Huskies use only 2 linebackers and also employ a rover, who is expected to be Dylan Kemp). The young linebackers did get a lot of reps in the spring so there are some possibilities there as well. If everybody is healthy, then the 4 guys who travelled at the start of last year will probably be the guys who travel at the start of this season.”

For the first time since 2005, the Huskies will not be playing a preseason game, and will instead have a Green and White scrimmage, on August 29, to finish camp before beginning preparations for the start of the CanWest season on September 5. BT was asked about how the scrimmage will be handled. “We are going to try and keep the prep the same for the scrimmage as we would a road game: we’ll have a team meal at 9:30 in the morning, then we’ll break down and have our position meetings, and go through a regular pre-game routine. The scrimmage will be a little different than a game; we’ll do a shootout format and probably run about 120 plays. About 60 of the plays will be 1′s vs. 1′s. There will be about 30 plays with just the young guys vs. the young guys. We want to run some goal line, and we’ll intersperse some special teams situations. We’ll probably limit ourselves to just a couple of live situations with our special teams in order to take into consideration the risk of injury. We have to remember that when we scrimmage we expose 24 of our players to contact on each play instead of 12.”

To conclude our discussion, BT was asked if there is a general message or theme that the coaches wish to get across to the players. “It’s carried on from the spring: ‘new team, same dream.’ We have a lot of new faces, but we’ve had a great attitude and work ethic on display that started in January and it’s carried right through spring until now. I know that the team is excited. The guys who have been here over the summer are keyed up; they’ve looked at some of the changes on offence and I think they’re excited about that too. You can see that they’re ready to go.”

2 Responses to “Coach Towriss, players, and staff excited to begin season”

  1. stanthefan says:

    Looking forward to Flory and Serke working together on the running game. Hope to see lots of two back sets with Lalonde at FB and Buchanan and Jarvis alternating at TB, with maybe a little of Chow or Andrews. Hope to see that FB delayed leak out pass in the red zone that used to be a bread and butter TD play in the past. The run game can be our strength if the new hoggies can work out quickly, and become dominant.
    Also happy to see Nixon as our dedicated QB coach. Hope to see Burko reach a potential all-star level with Laurences’ help, that I believe Drew is capable of but hasn’t reached yet.

  2. Wes Randal says:

    Stan the fan. You had called the professional coach addition earlier. Is there any talk of bringing in a professional to help the defense? I think it would be awesome if we could add a profession caliber defensive coordinator as well.

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