To Be Frank
Ex-ConU Starting Quarterback Opens Up On Why He Left Team
It’s a scorching hot Monday morning that will surely get hotter and more humid as the hours go by. It’s the type of day that would make anybody want to wear the least amount of clothing possible. Instead, dozens of Concordia Stingers football players are in full gear at training camp, running drills on the brand new turf installed at Concordia Stadium. There is, however, a notable absentee at this year’s camp.
Under 90 minutes away, Frank Dessureault is at home in Drummondville. Located east of Quebec, it has a population of fewer than 72,000. If you can’t find Dessureault at home, there is chance you may find him at work; he spends numerous hours as a shift manager at a McDonald’s in the area, where he has worked for six years. But while his job is fairly routine, Dessureault finds himself trying to adjust to life beyond the gridiron.
“To know everyone’s on the field and you’re still here working at a puny McDonald’s,” he said. “It’s not easy, but I’ll get used to it.”
For the first time since before his first year of high school, Dessureault will not be participating in a training camp. The now-former starting quarterback left the Stingers football team following their 2014 season. According to Dessureault, it had to do with making his education a priority.
“I stopped playing football not because I didn’t want to play anymore. It’s because I had to make a choice,” he said.
Following almost two years of studying athletic therapy, Dessureault realized that it wasn’t for him and took a semester off to consider his options. It was then that the former quarterback decided to take interest in aviation.
“I was asking myself questions,” he said. “What interests me? What do I want to do? And then I realize ‘Hey, I love airplanes!’ I love everything that has to do with avionics.”
While he briefly teased the possibility of becoming a pilot, Dessureault will now be doing a degree in aerospace engineering this coming semester.
“You look at a huge airplane and you wonder how a huge thing like that can fly,” he said.
Last season, Dessureault was entrusted as starting quarterback—a pilot of sorts—of the Concordia Stingers offence after playing backup to Reid Quest a year earlier. In seven games, Dessureault threw for 1,307 passing yards, as well as eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He did, however, miss one game due to injury.
While Dessureault would be pulled from games in the hopes that a backup option—Colin Sequeira or Mario Porreca—would spark the team, he always felt head coach Mickey Donovan and offensive coordinator Matt Connell had his corner, even if his responsibilities lied more on the defensive side of the field.
“Whenever [Mickey and I] did talk, it was always constructive,” he said. “We had a good relationship. He was pushing me to be better, keeping me motivated. [He was] pretty much the perfect type of coach that anybody would want.
“I don’t think they ever lost confidence in me,” Dessureault added. “Obviously there was the injury that happened in the middle of the season, but apart from that, I’m pretty sure I was their guy from day one.”
“I stopped playing football not because I didn’t want to play anymore. It’s because I had to make a choice.” — Frank Dessureault
It’s a cooler, more relaxed Sunday evening at Concordia Stadium now. Stingers players have just finished playing a pre-season game against the Queen’s Golden Gaels. Players from both teams are exchanging handshakes and hugs, and are even taking pictures with each other.
On the field you will likely find a Stingers quarterback laughing with his teammates, or taking photos with his family members. For a few moments, the Stingers don’t have to think about who their next starting quarterback will be, but once they step back onto the field for practice they’ll be on edge, fighting for a spot.
During the game, which the Stingers won 21-18, ConU used four different quarterbacks. Two of them, Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren and Trenton Miller, were given the most amount of time on the field. Sequeira and another backup, Quaid Johnson, have also seen playing time.
Needless to say, the Stingers are in the process of finding Dessureault’s successor in time for the season opener on Sept. 4 against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or. But according to Coach Donovan, Dessureault might not have even been a given a chance to keep his spot.
Months earlier, Donovan revealed to The Concordian that with the accumulation of quarterbacks on the team, Dessureault wouldn’t be starting if he had returned to the team. Following the pre-season win over Queen’s, Donovan stood by that statement, but also cited injuries as a reason why Dessureault wasn’t the most effective quarterback for the team.
“We get more out of the guys that are new here,” said Donovan. “[Dessureault] was getting banged up; he took a lot of hits last year. When we were playing Sherbrooke in that last game of the regular season, he was struggling to make any type of throws to the outside and it was due to injuries.
“I don’t want to be throwing Dessureault under the boat; he’s a great kid and he’s a hard working guy,” he added. “We feel as a coaching staff we got better at that position.”
While Dessureault couldn’t comment on any of the new quarterbacks, he naturally feels he would’ve been up for the challenge if he continued another a year in the football program.
“I love competition, that’s what makes me better,” he said. “Obviously, I’m confident in my abilities.
“I wish them the best of luck,” he added. “For one, I’m not there anymore. Second of all, I don’t know what they look like, I don’t know how they play, so I really can’t judge whether I would’ve been worried or not.”
Training camp will go on without Dessureault this year. It’s a reality he will have to accept. He admits that he’d love to find his way back into football, likely as some sort of coach, but his studies are his focus right now.
He will still miss the game of football, a sport he got in as a young teenager trying to make friends, but at least he is attempting to let go.
“I’ll have to live with it,” he said.
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