Football Team Preview: Who Will Lead?
Questions Abound At Quarterback As Team Enters Year Two Of The Donovan Era
Mickey Donovan’s first year as head coach of the Concordia Stingers’ football team featured a number of successes—including their first victory since 2012—which led to their first winning season since 2008.
But this year, with brand-spanking new uniforms to boot, the Stingers will try to move upward in their division while having to fend off the always mighty Laval Rouge et Or, as well as the reigning Vanier Cup champions, the Université de Montréal Carabins.
If you ask members of the Stingers about the strengthened RSEQ conference, however, they seem to be unfazed.
“I’m happy that we get to go against UdeM twice this year,” said veteran slotback Jamal Henry. “We’re out here to compete, right? So after five years I think I’ve seen enough to know that once we get on the field and we know our stuff, we’re going to have fun.”
“They’ve got to deal with us too,” said Donovan. “To be the best you’ve got to beat everyone. You can’t look past any opponent that you have.”
The Stingers have lost ammunition, especially in terms of defensive backs. Three members of the Stingers’ secondary—Kevin Prempeh, Michael Asare and Kris Robertson—are gone. However, this has led to healthy competition for that position and other ones, including the starting quarterback position.
The Stingers will be moving on from former quarterback Frank Dessureault, who left following last season.
In the off-season, Donovan was hard at work recruiting potential starters for the role, including masters student Trenton Miller from the United States.
Miller stood out in the Stingers pre-season win over the Queen’s Golden Gaels on August 23rd. In the 21-18 victory, he threw 13 completions and a touchdown pass for 142 yards. But he still feels he has ways to go before he’s comfortable playing the game.
“I just got to get used to the Canadian ball more,” said Miller after the pre-season win. “Now it’s on me because I’ve played a game so there’s no excuses anymore. I just have to be cleaner with timing, make faster reads, get the ball out my hands, and just help give the ball to playmakers because we have a lot of guys who can run.”
One main competitor in that race for the quarterback position is Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, who scored a rushing touchdown and had 54 rushing yards against Queen’s, in addition to throwing seven completed passes for 78 yards.
“I think I need to calm down,” said Gilbert-Knorren. “Just need to come out and be me, just be an athlete, make plays and be confident, and sustain drives. Keep getting first downs after first downs after first downs and [have] no mental errors.”
The Stingers will play their first game of the season on Friday, Sept. 4, a home game at Concordia Stadium, against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, at 7 p.m.
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