- Connor O'Neil
Four OUA Storylines Worth Getting Excited About
It is finally August which means OUA training camps are just a few short weeks away. Training camps may not be as exciting as regular season action, but if you’re a football junkie like we are at CFP it really is the start of a journey and you can't understand the end point without knowing where you began.
Maybe a team has brought in a new coach, maybe there is a lot of roster turnover, or a high impact player transferred. Whatever the case may be training camps are like the previews before the new movie you’re really excited to see.
So to keep all the football junkies out there held over until the regular season kicks off here are a handful of things to get excited for in the upcoming 2019 OUA season.
A New Era for the Gaels
Obviously, being the new voice of Gaels Football for CFRC I’m extremely excited for Queen’s football this year. However, I’m excited for Queen’s Football for more than just my own selfish reasons.
Former St.FX X-Men and Western Mustangs Offensive Coordinator, Steve Snyder will assume the head coaching duties for the Queen’s Gaels in 2019. Synder has done remarkable work with Western in his last two seasons. In two seasons with the Mustangs Synder helped the Mustangs capture two Yates Cups, two Vanier Cup appearances and a Vanier Cup title in 2017.
Im extremely excited to watch what Coach Synder will be able to bring to the Gaels in the 2019 season. A strong offensive mind who has helped Greg Marshall mold one of the best offences in U SPORTS. It will be interesting to watch and see what kind of impact Synder will have on the Gaels and if we will see a transformed Gaels offence. One last shameless plug before I move on. Don’t forget to tune into CFRC 101.9FM to catch me calling Gaels Football every Saturday!
Warriors Come Out to Play
Another team I’m incredibly excited to watch in the upcoming season is the Waterloo Warriors.
Yes, you read that correctly and no it's not a typo. I’m EXTREMELY excited to watch the Waterloo Warriors this season. The Warriors have one of the best quarterbacks in the entirety of U SPORTS football in Tre Ford.
As a second year QB, Ford threw 27 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions on 195 completions. Ford's 27 touchdowns were the most for any U SPORTS quarterback and his 2,822 passing yards were second in the league behind only Hec Creighton winner Adam Sinagra.
I firmly believe Tre Ford is a strong candidate to challenge Sinagra for the Hec Creighton award this season, especially since he will be throwing to the number one receiver in the nation. Warriors WR Tyler Ternowski is a special player. I was fortunate enough to witness Ternowski first hand at the 2019 East-West Bowl. He is a pure playmaker with quick feet and a great release/stem off the line that almost always puts him in a position to burn a receiver and make a play.
Ternowski led all U SPORTS receivers last season with 1,159 receiving yards, 144.9 yards per game, and 14 TDs. Ternowski was the only U SPORTS receiver to haul in more than 1,000 yards receiving and double digit touchdown receptions. Waterloo’s offence is going to be high powered and a lot of fun to watch this year. With a 4-4 record last season sneaking into the playoffs I expect to see the Warriors build on that this season.
The Warriors are my dark horse team to make a deep playoff run this season.
Ptaszek Back at Mac
Without anymore delay we come to perhaps my favourite piece of news that came out this off season: the return of Coach Stefan Ptaszek to the McMaster Marauders.
Ptaszek was the Head Coach of the Marauders from 2006 to 2015 before moving on to the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he was the Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers coach for the 2016-2017 season. Ptaszek spent the 2018 season as the OC with the UBC Thunderbirds. Now, Ptaszek is back at Mac and he is once again in the drivers seat.
In his previous tenure at McMaster, Ptaszek help the Marauders capture a Vanier Cup with a 41-38 win over the Laval Rouge et Or in 2011 - possibly one of the greatest Vanier Cup games every played.
The following year Ptaszek won coach of the year honours. Ptaszek is an incredible football mind and I firmly believe with Ptaszek at the helm Mac will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season. Mac is always a competitive team, but with the return of Ptaszek Mac has officially become dangerous.
The Gee-Gees Reign in Ottawa
Coming off an impressive 6-2 2018 season the U Ottawa Gee-Gees are heading into the 2019 season with high expectations. The Gee-Gees impressive 2018 season was cut short in the Yates Cup semi-final by Guelph after a disappointing meltdown by the Gee-Gees who led 22-10 by the end of the 3rd quarter.
The 2019 Gee-Gees roster remains relatively untouched with little roster turnover from last season. Quarterback Sawyer Burnett will be entering his second season as the Gee-Gees starter. The Gee-Gees air attack will also see two of its biggest play makers return for 2019. The long athletic wideout, Carter Matheson who led the Gee-Gees with 40 receptions for 664 yards and 6 touchdowns will be returning to action. Kalem Beaver, who very well might be the fastest man in U SPORTS will be returning for the Gee-Gees as well. Beaver totalled 270 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, and 426 punt return yards for the Gee-Gees last season. The pairing of Matheson and Beaver gives the Gee-Gees a solid one two punch of size and speed. Not only can the Gee-Gees attack through the air, but they can run the ball effectively as well. Running back Dawson Odei tallied 689 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns last season.
The Gee-Gees will be an experienced team with a powerful offence this season that I expect to be near the top of the OUA heading into the Yates Cup playoffs.
Connor O'Neil is a former UOttawa Gee-Gee defensive back with a passion for Canadian Football and a desire to stay connected to the game.