The Team to Watch: Concordia Football
The Stingers’ Football Team Looks to Build Something Legendary in its 2022-23 Campaign
“Everybody is locked in,” says Stingers’ quarterback Olivier Roy, “I love to see the energy at practice and at training camp [...] It’s a complete opposite for me from what I saw when I first came here in 2019.”
If you haven’t heard by now, Concordia football is the flagship team amongst all Stingers Varsity 1 athletics.
Concordia University Athletics has a proud legacy amongst sports in both Quebec and Canada. The Stingers football teams from the past have made marks in the history books, and this year's 2022-23 group is no exception.
On paper, a 4-4 win-loss record after the 2021-22 season is nothing to marvel at. What has drawn attention to the program is the amount of talent shared amongst the players, the respected reputation of the coaching staff and the growth of the unit throughout the past five years.
“When we took over this program five years ago, we always said we wanted to build,” explained head coach Brad Collinson. “It’s like building a house, you know? You want to have the foundation, first floor, second floor and then the finishings with the roof on. So, that’s where we’re at right now.”
Coach Collinson has labelled this phase as the next step in the build, due to the “veteran group,” which has been recruited and brought in by the coaching staff.
That veteran presence comes mainly from the offence via their skill positions. Slotback Jacob Salvail is an athletically gifted receiver who totalled 40 receptions in eight games for the Stingers last year, amassing 632 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021.
Accompanying him is one of the RSEQ’s true playmakers, receiver Jaylan Greaves, whose 27 receptions for 605 yards and five touchdowns earned him the 2021-22 RSEQ Rookie of the Year award. Greaves’ ability to rack up lengthy spouts of yardage per play—with a 22.4 yards per reception, good enough for second best in U Sports last season—has garnered him much notoriety across the league.
The name you most likely have heard by now is that of Roy’s. The Stingers’ star field general’s 2021-22 season made him a nationally respected player. His 163 completions, 2470 passing yards and 18 touchdowns all rank first in U Sports for that year. Roy’s performance landed him the title of RSEQ MVP.
When asked about his awards and statistics from 2021 Roy was stoic, saying, “The personal accolades I got last year were great, but it’s always a team [sport], and it’s really not me [alone on the field].”
Recruiting focused heavily on the offensive-line during the off-season. The O-Line’s main weakness aided Roy in ranking first nationally for another category last year, the number of times sacked, 23. Yet, both coaching staff and players have shown their confidence in the unit itself thus far.
“Our offensive line is a group that is really coming together right now,” says coach Collinson. “A lot of really young guys in the group, but I’m really happy and pleased with what they’re doing and [how] they are working together.”
That aforementioned building phase remains to be tested going into their first game of the 2022-23 season. Although coach Collinson’s house-building metaphor seems to be sound and executed to plan, there is still work to be done on the teams’ weaker areas.
The last factor in the success of the Stingers this year will be their defence as a whole. The offences’ prowess from last year has at times overshadowed the problems found on defence statistically in 2021.
On that side of the ball, Concordia allowed 30.4 points per game and 398.1 yards per game. This is mainly due to the stacked offensive squads that make up the RSEQ, with the two juggernauts being Université de Montréal Carabins and the Université Laval Rouge et Or who both totalled 28.3 and 29.3 points per game respectively in 2021.
The question before the season’s start differs significantly from last year. In 2021 the questions came from the unknown capabilities of the Stingers. For the 2022-23 season, the main question is not how will this football team do, but how far will this team go.
The squad has shown its aptitude when competing in games where the score is close or wherein they have been trailing. A valuable aspect of this year's squad is the experience from the hard-fought battles they’ve had to face.
This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 1, published August 30, 2022.