Université de Montréal 10, Concordia 3: The New Concordia Stingers

The Stingers Look Like a Different Team To Start the Year Despite Loss

The Stingers held the Carabins to a single touchdown unlike their previous matchup. Photo Elisa Barbier.

Brad Collinson knew exactly what the expectations were.

“Let’s call a spade a spade here. Everyone in the stands thought we were gonna get blown out, everyone. Except us.”

It was the expected storyline. After all, the last time the Université de Montréal Carabins came to Concordia, they left with a 75-3 win. What could change in just a year?

Just about everything, as it turns out. The only similarity this game had to last year’s was the result. A new look Stingers team went toe to toe with one of the country’s top teams, conceded just one touchdown, and kept the game separated by a single possession.

In fact, Collinson reminded his players that the game very well could have been tied at ten in the end, had a Stingers interception returned for a touchdown not been called back. Not bad for a team learning a brand new scheme.

The result may still be a loss, but nothing feels the same about this Stingers team.

“We’re gonna be the blue collar team that we can be, lunch pail, bring it every day. That’s what we’re doing,” said Collinson.

Collinson has built a team of workers and a playstyle to match it. It may mean flying by the seat of their pants at times but it seems to force even a composed, elite team like the Carabins to do the same.

With the first full offseason he’s had with the team, Collinson has rebuilt the roster with new young talent, and revamped the coaching staff to give the team a new look and style.

The transformation has starting quarterback Adam Vance praising the idea of this blue collar attitude that’s led to early morning offseason workouts and mindset changes within the organization.

“We have these dudes that want to work. It’s changing the culture. Even some of the older dudes,”said Vance. “We’re more prepared. Practices are more fundamental. [It’s] going back to basics.”

Those fundamentals showed up in Vance’s game against the Carabins. He looked more poised, precise, and dangerous than perhaps any other game he’s played as a Stinger.

“We wanted to send a message today, that we’re here,” —Brad Collinson

He threw for 225 yards (versus his Carabins counterpart’s 130), and looked more comfortable than ever doing it.

“He’s bought in, he wants to win, that’s the Adam Vance they recruited before I got here,” said Collinson of his starter.

Vance himself said the new offensive schemes are well suited to his game. They’re fast paced and run similar styles of plays to those he learned playing in the United States.

The confidence of Vance seemed present in the coaching staff as well. The team was aggressive on offense, pushing to go for it on third down often and playing a physical, in-your-face style on defense that resulted in one completed interception, and two more that were dropped.

It was an excellent example of what the team can do with this no fear, us-against-the-world attitude for the multitude of rookies joining the team. Fifteen freshmen suited up for the season opener and many made their presence felt, none more so than receiver Jeremy Murphy.

A former division three CEGEP player, he came to camp as a third-string player. By the end of the first half, he had racked up 95 receiving yards, including a 43 yard bomb. Vance credits Murphy’s performance with the Carabins changing up their defense in the second half.

Not one to sit in the spotlight, Murphy instead focused on the benefits of the blend of rookies and upperclassmen the team is seeing and the mood it’s created.

“Oh this vibe is fun. This team is fun. There’s a lot of rookies are helping with this but the vets are cool with the rookies. I love this team,” said the rookie who Collinson extolled as “a stud” and the kind of hardworking person that the program wants.

In the end, it is still a loss on the Stingers’ record book to start the season. But it’s a loss that came with a boatload of exceeded expectations and surprises for Concordia fans. It’s a loss that the team sees as a first step towards success.

This is a team that’s young, hungry and doesn’t seem to be afraid of the challenge of rebuilding themselves after a bottom of the barrel finish last year. Going toe to toe with the Carabins in a game that wasn’t decided until the last 30 seconds is how they plan to start doing that.

“We wanted to send a message today, that we’re here,” said Collinson, promising that teams that play Concordia will know that they did.