Can Laval Make it 10 in a row? (2012 RSEQ Preview)


The RSEQ has been a one team conference for almost the entire last decade of Quebec University Football. It is clear that there has only been one team to pay attention to for this time as the Laval has been a force in the conference. There have been few challengers to the crown for the Rouge et Or as they continue to turn out great teams. The Laval system works as they hold on to their players for as long as possible and get as much out of them as they can. It is amazing to think of this longevity in the CIS as university football is a strange beast and a hard one to figure out. Every four or five years teams in the CIS lose an entire group of veteran players who are no longer allowed to play. These teams must keep replacing their roster over and over again as key pieces to their teams leave. As a result of this many teams have only a small window of opportunity to win anything in the CIS.  This small window resides when a strong recruiting class become experienced enough to begin winning games. Usually this is around their 3rd year of eligibility and so there are only two or three years left in their university career. If something goes wrong in a season that season cannot be brought back as players move one step closer to the shutting of the window. When the window is gone the teams must start completely new and try to build back up. For Laval to be so good for so long means that they have worked out a great system that allows any player to step in and be successful. Laval looks to do this again in 2012 but the rest of the RSEQ may have a surprise for them. As Laval continues their success other teams are beginning to get better and better with many looking to challenge the big red machine from Quebec City. The RSEQ this year will see every team looking to knock off the champions as the 6 Quebec teams begin their quest for the Dunsmore Cup.

 

Bishop’s Gaiters

 

 

 

The Bishop’s Gaiters are one of the oldest teams in the CIS which makes them one of the most storied teams in North America. Since 1884 the Gaiters have been playing football in Quebec creating stories and memories along the way. Yet unlike many other old teams the Gaiters have been unable to find much success. They have four Dunsmore Cups to their name, last coming in 1994, and from there on the list reads like they didn’t exist. No Vanier Cups, no Mitchell Bowls, no Uteck Bowls, not even a Hec Crighton winner has come out of Bishop’s. The Gaiters continued their struggles throughout the 2011 season as they saw some wins but could not string enough together. They finished just on the outside of the playoffs in 2011 only two points from Concordia and the final playoff spot. This year though the Gaiters are hoping an experienced team will help them into the playoffs once again. On offence the Gaiters will be led by Jordan Heather who will enter his second year as a full-time starter. Last year Heather put all of the RSEQ on notice as he went about breaking school records in only his first year as a starter. He will be without one of this favorite weapons though as Steven Turner is no longer with the team. In his place is Heather’s second favorite target from last year in Alexander Fox who although small put up top 10 CIS numbers last year. In the backfield the Gaiters will welcome back Matthew Burke who’s blocking ability should help in protection while also giving the Gaiters a balanced attack. New recruit Christian Fournier could also see some action this year to provide a bit of a change of pace with his speed. The defence for the Gaiters will be their strength as they return some key playmakers to the team who will look to help the Gaiters to the playoffs. Up front they will be led by Elie Ngoyie fresh off of his appearance at the East-West Bowl last spring. With 25.5 sacks last year Ngoyie will look to become a major problem for the other team’s lines in 2012. In the second level the Gaiters will see their biggest losses as three linebackers are no longer with the team. This includes Dan West who is now with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL. In West’s place will be Adrian Clarke who will enter the 2012 season as a first time starter. The defensive secondary will be the strength of the defence as they will see all five starters return from last year. This will include Harrison Maloney who only played 7 games due to injury yet still made the RSEQ All-Star team in 2011. The Gaiters will be relying on their experience as they return a number of key pieces to their team. Still though they will be up against some stiff competition and will likely fight for a playoff spot once again but may be able to scrape in.

 

One to Watch:
Alexander Fox, WR (Montreal West, QC)
– With Steven Turner no longer with the team Fox will become the featured receiver in the Gaiters offence and with a 2011 season that saw him ranked among the top 10 in the CIS in multiple categories he looks to be a force for the team this year

 

Concordia Stingers

 

 

 

 

 

The Concordia Stingers are a team in the RSEQ with plenty of winning seasons under their belt and multiple playoff appearances. Still the Stingers have yet to win a Vanier Cup and have not won a Dunsmore Cup since 1998. The problem being that the Rouge et Or have continually made life difficult beating the Stingers in the last five playoff appearances. This year the Stingers are hoping that a matured team will lead them past the top teams in the conference and into the national picture. On offence the Stingers will see Reid Quest return to the team after a 2011 season that saw him struggle to make an adjustment from junior football to the university ranks and also saw him fight for his job. With another year under his belt Quest will be a better QB and more able to start from the beginning of the year. He will still need to fight for his spot, although he is the frontrunner, with young prospect Troy McCusker becoming an option after a promising preseason. Whoever wins the QB battle will have plenty of options in the passing game as Chris Bastien, Michael Harrington, and Sanchez Deschamps all return for another year. Another positive on the offence will be the return of a pair of running backs that promise to give the Stingers a more balanced attack.  Raul Thompson and Mike Donnelly will be a strong duo in the backfield and should take some of the pressure off of the QB. On defence the Stingers will have a few questions but will have one very strong aspect. The linebacking corps of the Stingers is shaping up to be one of the best in the country as they return some big play veterans. The leader of the group is Max Caron who last year won the President’s trophy for the best defensive player in the CIS. Caron will be joined by fifth year player Christian Walcott and fourth year veteran Marc-Andre Lewis along with promising young talents in Travis Bent and Mikael Charland. The rest of the defence can be summed up in one word “Young.” The defensive line will be a young group led by two third year players in Quinn Smith and Shaquille Armstrong. The Defensive secondary is the same story as Kadeem Vaillancourt and Kevin Prempeh will need to step up to lead the group and create a strong defence. The Stingers are looking to answer a number of questions this year with a young team that includes a few great players. The offence will be more solid and dependable with a hope of stability in the QB position while the defence may have just enough to give the offence a chance to win. The Stingers will be back in the playoffs again but they will hope they do not face their old nemesis the Laval Rouge et Or or they may find their playoff run short-lived.

 

One to Watch:
Max Caron, LB (Kingston, ON)
– The Stingers defence is a young squad and will rely on their best player to provide stability in the middle of the defence as 2011 President’s Trophy winner will be the key to this defence and possibly to how the season shakes out

 

Laval Rouge et Or

 

 

 

 

 

Not many teams have come close to the Rouge et Or as they have walked all over teams in the conference. As for the national picture Laval remains one of the most feared teams in Canada winning 6 Vanier Cups with their last coming in 2010. For the Rouge et Or there is no losing in the conference as they measure success by how they do in the national picture rather than the local picture.  Last year was another good year for Laval as they made it back to the Vanier Cup finals to take on the McMaster Marauders in what many thought would be an easy game for the Red Machine. It was not as they lost the game but were a part of the best football game ever to be played that finished in overtime. Still it was not good enough for the Rouge et Or as they expect to win the Vanier Cup and the 2012 season will be no different. This may be the year that Laval needs to temper expectations though as a number of key players are no longer with the team. On Offence the loss of Bruno Prud’homme and Rene Levesque will hurt the team in a big way. Tristan Grenon and William G. Bourassa will look to fill the shoes of these super stars as they will be the new generation of the Laval offence. Grenon will step in under centre for his first full season as a starter and will bring some experience as the starting QB in 2010 while Prud’homme was injured. William G. Bourassa is much like Grenon in that he got some game action in 2010 and did well with it as the Rouge et Or are hoping he can be at least half as good as Levesque. The one saving grace for the Laval offence this year will be the return of their leading receiver Guillaume Rioux who will provide stability in the passing game for Grenon. Defensively the Rouge et Or will be returning a number of starters from last year including most of their impact players. On the defensive line CIS JP Metras winner, for the best lineman in the CIS, Arnaud Gascon-Nadon will be back to lead the push. Behind him will be one of the top prospects of the 2012 CFL draft in linebacker Frederic Plesius who was taken by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the second round. Only adding to the experience and talent of the Laval defence will be cornerback Dominic Noel who was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian and spent the offseason in camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The defence will be strong this year with a proven playmaker at every level. The defence may need to carry the load as well this year with an offence that will have a few question marks. Laval still looks strong this year as their defence will likely step up and they will likely continue their dominance in the RSEQ.

 

One to Watch:
Tristan Grenon, QB (Quebec City, QC)
– The loss of Bruno Prud’homme is a big one as his legacy will cast a large shadow on the career of Grenon who will look to take over the QB role and continue the winning tradition of the Rouge et Or where only a Vanier Cup means a successful season

 

McGill Redmen

 

 

 

 

 

The McGill Redmen are one of the few teams in the CIS that was established before 1900 as they first played in 1896. The Redmen are a part of the rich history of football in Canada and represent one of the few teams that has built the game in Canada. Much like many of the other classic teams McGill has struggled lately as their legend has not translated in the win column. Since a great 2002 season McGill has struggled to stay consistent going in and out of the playoffs. In 2007 the streak started as the Redmen would not make it back to the playoffs from that season on. Last year was no different as the Redmen continued a winless streak that reached 0-18 by season’s end. The Redmen are a struggling team but are hoping that a new season can bring new promise to the program. The 2012 season began in a strange way as the Redmen applied to leave the RSEQ and make a move back to the OUA. The result of the application will not be revealed but the Redmen could be on the way out making this their last season. The Redmen will try to go out with a bang in the conference. One of their keys to success will be the quarterback position that is still up for grabs between Jonathan Collin, Ryne Brody, and Dallon Kuprowski. After a great 2009 season Collin went down with a knee injury that kept him off of the field for two years. Meanwhile Brody is looking for his first chance at starting after losing the QB battle to Dallon Kuprowski who will hope to return to the starting position. In the passing game a number of battles in preseason will likely see a mix of rookies and veterans in the receiving corps. One player who could make an impact is Shaquille Johnson who had a great preseason and could be a force in his rookie season. In the backfield lies more uncertainty as incumbent Taylor Kuprowski will likely be the starting but will have some pressure from rookie Luis Andres Guimont-Mota. On defence the Redmen will be led by Charles-Evens Peltrop in the linebacking corps. Joining Peltrop in the linebacking corps will be Louis Morrissette and Brenden Carriere to form what could be a good second level. The Redmen will also have defensive linemen Alex Hutchison and David Deku. The defensive secondary McGill could see a transfer lead the young group as Simon Lamontagne has been impressive in the preseason. The McGill Redmen are a team that seems to still be figuring out were they sit. A great recruiting class will help but a lack of big impact players, shown by almost every position being up for grabs, makes it hard for the Redmen to compete. In an extremely tough RSEQ conference the Redmen are the odd team out as they may be better than last year but will still not see the playoffs.

 

One to Watch:
Jonathan Collin, QB (Greenfield Park, QC)
– He is not the for sure starting QB for the Redmen but he has battled through a severe knee injury and would like nothing more than to return to his rookie of the year form in 2009 and lead the Redmen out of the basement

 

Montreal Carabins

 

 

 

 

The Montreal Carabins are on a pretty good run as have been in the playoffs since 2003 and many times are considered the second best team in the conference. Montreal has been one of the only teams in the RSEQ that can truly challenge the Rouge et Or. In 2011 the Rouge et Or bowled through every team except the Carabins who kept the Rouge et Or within reach in both of their games. The Carabins will look to continue that trend and take advantage of a Laval team that is not what they once were as they hope to win the RSEQ for the first time ever. The biggest story for the Montreal Carabins in 2012 will be the second year of head coach Danny Maciocia who guided the Carabins to the Dunsmore Cup final against Laval. He will look to continue changing the attitude around Montreal and show that Montreal can beat the big red machine and win their first Dunsmore Cup. The Montreal offence will be one based on the run once again. Leading the charge is Rotrand Sene who had a career year in 2011 and was the workhorse of the offence. The passing game will be led by fifth year QB Alexandre Nadeau-Piuze who will be back for his third year as the starter. He will have some weapons too with Mikhail Davidson returning for his second year. Davidson is still a young talent but earning a starting spot in his rookie season means something as he looks to fill the shoes of Mathieu Labelle who graduated last year. The offence will try to be more balanced this year but the run game will still be their bread and butter and will come in handy during the tough winter months in Quebec. The defence will see a few losses but still not enough to really put them in big trouble. The defensive line is the hardest hit by the losses with Garlins Duclervil and Alexandre Dumas both graduated. The line will now fall to third year starter David Menard and 2011 Second Team All-Canadian Jonathan Pierre-Etienne. The linebacking corps remained relatively intact with the second CIS all-star in Second Team All-Canadian Jonathan Beaulieu-Richard and second year linebacker Byron Archambault. The defensive secondary will also be untouched by losses with two key players returning for another year. Anthony Coady and Antoine Pruneau will both lead the secondary as they hope to shut down opposing offences. The Carabins are generally unchanged on the defensive side of the ball as a young team from a year ago will be one more year experienced with some great game changers back. The Carabins are looking to get over the hump known as the Laval Rouge et Or as they look to a good young team to put them into the national picture. The Carabins will be in the playoffs this year and will likely take on Laval in the finals to determine if they can finally beat the big red machine and win a Dunsmore Cup.

 

One to Watch:
Byron Archambault, LB (Montral, QC)
– In his rookie season Archambault proved that he is one of the best tacklers in the CIS amassing 46.5 tackles in 2011 and this year he will be one of the young leaders of the defensive team that looks to take their extra year of experience to the Dunsmore Cup

 

Sherbrook Vert et Or

 

 

 

 

The Vert et Or have been a team on the rise in the last few years and in 2011 they reached their highest point in the regular season. For the first time ever the Vert et Or finished in second place after a great year. The regular season success did not translate to the playoffs though as Sherbrooke lost to a very strong Montreal team. It was a disappointing season though as they had seen their potential in 2010 when the made it to the Dunsmore Cup. The Vert et Or still saw an improvement in the regular season as they look to put it all together in 2012. The Vert et Or will see a lot of change this year though as they will transition in a number of key areas. The biggest will be at head coach as offensive coordinator David Lessard takes over the top job from Andre Bolduc. Lessard will reorganize the structure of the team moving coaches around and bringing in new coaches to continue to grow the program. Former special teams coach Jean-Vincent Posy Audette will take over the defensive duties for the Vert et Or. On offence the Vert et Or will also go through a big change as two of their best players left for the CFL. Last year’s RSEQ Hec Crighton nominee Simon Charbonneau-Campeau and receiver Ismail Bamba are both now playing pro leaving a massive hole in Sherbrooke’s passing game. Looking to fill that hole will be Alexandre Corriveau-Gagne who is inexperienced but has a lot of upside. Corriveau-Gagne will have a sure hand to throw to him as well with the return of Jeremi Roch for his second year starting. The Vert et Or are a pass first team but the running game led by Beni Djock should provide at least a serviceable alternate. The offence will suffer with the loss of their two best receivers and with a running game that will provide little support they will fall on the young inexperienced players to lead them back to the playoffs. The defence will be relatively intact as only linebacker Filipe Fonseca has left the team. The defence will be led by a returning linebacker and First Team All-Canadian Kevin Regimbald-Gagne who spent his offseason in Saskatchewan at Roughriders camp. He will not be alone as returning playmaker as defensive halfback and Second Team All-Canadian Patrick Chenard who will lead the defensive backs in 2012. On the line the leader will be fifth year Emmanuel Theriault as he will provide a solid veteran presence up front. The defence will be solid with a number of veterans to lead the team in every level. The Sherbrooke Vert et Or have continued to get better very year but this year the loss of some offensive stars and the reorganization of the coaching staff could mean a step back. The Vert et Or will likely fight to get in the playoffs but may just miss out as they take a step back after years of progress.

 

One to Watch:
Alexandre Corriveau-Gagne, WR (Sherbrooke, QC)
– With the loss of Bamba and Charbaneau-Campeau leaves a massive hole in the offence as the passing game will need some adjustment and Corriveau-Gagne will potentially be the next star if he can step up in 2012

Prediction:

1. Laval Rouge et Or

2. Montreal Carabins

3. Concordia Stingers

4. Bishop’s Gaiters

5. Sherbrooke Vert et Or

6. McGill Redmen

 

Semi-Finals:
Laval Roue et Or 34 – 21 Bishop’s Gaiters
– The Bishop’s Gaiters are an improved team but they will be hard pressed to beat the best team in the RSEQ for the last 10 years as the Laval Rouge et Or will likely have an easy time in getting back to the Dunsmore Cup

 

Montreal Carabins 28 – 24 Concordia Stingers
– The Stingers have been burnt by the Rouge et Or for years and this year they will be happy to see a new team but that won’t last long as the Carabins are a very good team with plenty of power to break through the Stinger defence for the win

Dunsmore Cup:

Laval Rouge et Or 24 – 23 Montreal Carabins

– The Laval Rouge et Or are not the team they used to be and although they are a great team the Carabins will give them a run for their money but it will not be enough to stop the Rouge et Or from winning their 10th straight Dunsmore Cup

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  1. […] against the AUS champion with the RSEQ champion hosting the game. Using The Sport Addiction RSEQ Conference Preview and the AUS Conference Preview the two teams likely to face off for the 2012 Uteck Bowl will be the […]



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