RSEQ Wants a Repeat (RSEQ Preview)

Quebec has been a hotbed for football in Canada for many years and a big part of this is the success of not only the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL but also the Laval Rouge et Or. Laval has been on a tear over the past few years as they are always a favorite to win the Vanier Cup. Last year they did just that utilizing their home field advantage to beat the Calgary Dinos in the final. This year the big red machine will look to take their show out west to Vancouver and play for the Vanier Cup once again. Last year they faced a few challengers but still went undefeated this year they may be facing some more challenges as the rest of the conference is beginning to catch up to them. Three teams will be battling to catch up to Laval and they include the Montreal Carabins, Sherbrooke Vert et Or, and the Bishop’s Gaitors. Montreal gave Laval a bit of a scare during the season and hope to do the same this year. The biggest question in the RSEQ this year will be if anyone can dethrone the champs or will everyone just be playing for second place yet again.

Laval Rouge et Or

The Rouge et Or have been the powerhouse of the CIs for years as they have won the Vanier Cup 3 of the last 5 years. Last year was their latest win as they got the Vanier Cup again this time at home at PEPS Stadium in Quebec City against the Calgary Dinos. This year the Rouge et Or are looking to repeat as champions in Quebec and move on to the Vanier Cup in Vancouver. On offence Laval will have their starting QB back as Bruno Prud’homme will return under centre and will have a good supporting cast in wide receivers Julian Feoli-Gudino and Guillaume Rioux. The offence will also have their starting running back Sebastien Levesque behind Prud’homme as a key contributor to an offence that hopes to return to their #1 ranking from 2010. Defensively the Rouge et Or will undergo some more changes as their linebacking corps took a hit when Michael Abraham was suspended due to a failed drug test. They were also hurt with the departure of Jean-Phillipe Dumas. Their strength will be the defensive line as they will look to make up for the loss of Marc-Antoine Cloutier by returning Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and Jean-Alexandre Bernier. Laval will go through some small changes but with the strength of the team in developing players it is hard to say they will not be a strong team again. They will not have as easy a time as last year when they went undefeated as the other teams are catching up. They will have a very good shot at winning the Dunsmore Cup and moving into a strong bid for the Vanier Cup.

Montreal Carabins

Last year the Carbins had their best season in years finishing 2nd in the RSEQ behind the Vanier Cup Champion Laval Rouge et Or. They rode their early success as Montreal won their first four games. They made the playoffs but lost to a strong Sherbrooke team in the semi-finals ending their season. This year they will recover from controversy using a very experienced coach in two-time Grey Cup winner Danny Maciocia. The team will be led by their First team All-Canadian running back Rotrand Sene. The passing game will need some adjustment as their #1 receiver last year, Djems Kouame, has left to the CFL. Two rookies will anchor the receivers including Mikhail Davidson and Felix Prevost as they look to make up for the loss of Kouami. Defensively Montreal will look to former RSEQ rookie of the year David Menard, DL to lead the rookie squad. They will be facing some challenges as they have a lot of players playing for the first time and will be playing in one of the toughest conferences in Canada that includes their rival and former Vanier Cup Champion Laval. With Danny Maciocia at the helm Montreal will be a strong candidate but the amount of new players may make them fall down in the standings.

Sherbrooke Vert et Or

The Vert et Or had a great season last year finishing in third place in the RSEQ and going to face Laval in the Dunsmore Cup. They almost dethroned the big red machine losing by one play 22-17 as they came very close to representing the RSEQ conference in the Vanier Cup playoffs. This year Sherbrooke would like to repeat this success as they look to change a few elements. First the QB position will see a new player as Jeremi Doyon-Roch will take over for Jean-Phillippe Shoiry. Roch will have a number of promising starters as the line remains the same and the receiving corps will add two rookies to RSEQ MVP Simon Charbonneau-Campeau including Vincent Cleroux-Gaudreau and Ismael Bamba. Defensively Sherbrooke will be making major changes as they will be returning few key players from last year’s team. The veterans will anchor the linebacking corps as Filipe Fonseca, Kevin Regimbald-Gagne and Nicolas Boulay will be the only returning players. They will have some help in the secondary as Patrick Chenard will return from an injury that kept him out of the playoffs last year. Sherbrooke will have a mix of returning and new players and with some key positions changing they might have a challenge to repeat their performance last year.

Bishop’s Gaitors

The Gaitors had a successful season last year finishing 3rd in the RESQ but eventually losing to the #1 team in the semi-finals. This year they will make a number of changes and try to repeat their success after going on a five game win streak early in the season. The changes include the return of Tony Addona as head coach and the departure of 10 starters. On offence they will need to break in a new QB after Jesse Andrews graduated and Jordan Heather will take over. Heather will have a good support group led by wide receiver David Haddrall and running back John Jean-Baptiste. On defence the Gaitors have lost five starters including two building blocks of the defensive line in Mathieu Boulay and Junior Turner. Hoping to make up for this will be 2nd Team All-Canadian defensive back Harrison Maloney as well as a veteran linebacking corps led by 5th year starter Tyler Jutras. With these challenges it may be a tough road but playing at home five times this year. I expect the Gaitors to compete for a playoff spot this year as the RSEQ teams will be going through many changes.

Concordia Stingers

The Concordia Stingers have had a rough couple of years in the RSEQ finishing on the bubble of the playoffs for the past two years. Last year they finished in 5th place and out of the playoffs as they went through a rebuilding phase. The rebuilding continues in 2011 but is another year in through the tough task of returning to the #1 team in the RSEQ. This year the Stingers will be looking to get back into the playoffs and have a good showing as they continue to develop a young team. On offence they will be without their QB as Rob Mackay has graduated but it will not be a big loss as Mackay only played one game due to injury. Taking over the position for good this year will be Terrence Morsink who played most of the season last year. They will be anchored by their running back tandem of Edem Nyamadi and Mike Donnelly who will hope to lead the offence to the playoffs. Defensively Concordia has lost the majority of their defensive line but will be returning Shaquille Armstrong who will lead the line. The main returner will be All-Star safety Nicholas Arsenault-Hum who will lead a defence that looks to bend but not break. The Stingers have enough experience on offence to be powerful but their defence may have some struggles this year. They may be able to achieve their goal of earning a playoff spot but will not go much further than that.

McGill Redmen

The 131st year of a storied team will be one of rebuilding from a bad season where they ended up in last place. McGill is one of the oldest football programs in the world and they are looking to return to that storied past in order to make a run at the top of the conference. They will be returning a total of 55 players this year and will also add a good recruiting class. One main issue they will have to deal with is the loss of their starting QB as Jonathan Collin went down last year with a knee injury that has still not healed. The job will be up for grabs as Ryne Bondy will return as the favorite but will need to fend off two talented freshmen in Dallon Kuprowski and Jeff Tichelman. One of these QBs could be handing off to his older brother as Taylor Kuprowski will be the featured back in the Redmen offence. On defence All-Canadian defensive tackle, Ben Thompson, will lead the defence that will have a few changes but will still be strong. McGill had a bad season last year but I wouldn’t expect that to repeat. McGill looks like a stronger team than last year and although they may find it hard to compete with Laval I expect them to make the playoffs this year and be one of the better teams in the CIS.

Conference Predictions

1. Laval Rouge et Or (7-2)

2. McGill Redmen (6-3)

3. Montreal Carabins (6-3)

4. Sherbrooke Vert et Or (4-5)

5. Bishop’s Gaitors (3-6)

6. Concordia Stingers (2-7)

RSEQ Quick Facts:


Bishop’s Gaiters (Bishop’s University; Lennoxville, Quebec)

Concordia Stingers (Concordia University; Montreal, Quebec)

Laval Rouge et Ore (Université Laval; Quebec City, Quebec)

McGill Redmen (McGill University; Montreal, Quebec)

Montreal Carabins (Université de Montreal; Montreal, Quebec)

Sherbrooke Vert et Ore (Université de Sherbrooke; Sherbrooke, Quebec)


Dunsmore Cup

– Created in 1980 and awarded to the winner of the Ontario-Quebec Interuniversity Athletic Association

– Currently awarded to the best team in the RSEQ

– Named after Bob Dunsmore, who donated the trophy to the OQIAA

– Laval Rouge et Ore has won it 9 times with a 9-3 record

– 2011 winner will play for the Mitchell Bowl

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