A loss in the quarterfinals during last year’s post-season was not the exit the University of Guelph Gryphons football team hoped for, says had coach Kevin McNeill, but he’s proud of how the team has dusted themselves off to prepare for this year.
“Obviously we didn’t get the results we wanted last year. We have a great group of leaders that have been working extremely hard to make sure we are better prepared,” said McNeill.
The players had lofty goals last season, said McNeill, especially after the team won an OUA championship the season prior.
“We had high expectations. The fall when you don’t meet them leaves quite a big crater. I love that the kids will set the expectations high and they’re not afraid to pick themselves up,” he said.
Receiver Jacob Scarfone was selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during this year’s CHL draft, while fourth year running back Johnny Augustine attended Edmonton’s training camp.
Both fifth-year players will continue playing this season for the Gryphons, said McNeill.
Two areas the coaching staff focused on during the offseason is moving the football offensively and protecting the quarterback, said McNeill.
The team brought in Jean-Francois Joncas as the new offensive coordinator during the offseason to help the team achieve those goals.
“He’s an old lineman from Laval, so it should be good to bring in a guy with that kind of expertise, to ensure we can run the ball and protect the quarterback,” said McNeill.
Joncas won two Vanier Cups as a player with Laval and, as head coach for the Champlain Cougars in Lennoxville, Quebec, led the team to seven Bowl d'Or finals, winning it twice.
McNeill said he is happy with the progress made so far.
“The kids have been really dialled in this offseason,” said McNeill.
The Gryphons host the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Alumni Stadium on Sunday.