As the dead of winter progresses, we’re only 180 days away from the start of football training camps in the RSEQ.
One important storyline that will be gaining steam towards the start of the new season is the likely scenario of Frank Bruno suiting up for the Concordia Stingers. Never in anyone’s imagination that this development would become reality.
For those who best remember Bruno’s recruiting courtship by the plethora of schools. It was believed it was a frosty relationship with him and the Stingers staff, and he opted to play for the University of Montreal.
To describe his CIS career with the Carabins, it is best to deem it as a wild roller coaster ride.
Here are five questions on the potential impact of Bruno with the Stingers:
What does Frank Bruno have left to prove in the RSEQ?
Last March when Bruno was a last minute scratch due to a lower body injury at the CFL E-Camp, it was whispered in Toronto that maybe he didn’t have the desire to continue on pursuing his football career.
Then some pundits believed that Bruno was left for dead after his “release” from the Carabins. It seemed that he was destined to never realize his full potential by not getting drafted or even a school to play with.
The irony of him and the Stingers, during the 2011 season he continually showed up to all their home games without ever being bothered about why he was here. But it all came together realizing how familiar he is with the staff and players from his minor, and CEGEP football playing days.
No doubt, well respected receivers coach Dave Spence will shape Bruno into a potential prospect. In the last three years Spence has produced Cory Watson, Liam Mahoney, and now Sanchez Deschamps for the CFL E-Camp.
Watson and Mahoney were both selected in the last two drafts and have had excellent starts to their careers respectively.
Spence is the one coach who would surely have Bruno’s attention. Given how Bruno was outcast from the conference, he has one more year to prove his doubters wrong.
With the likes of Spence, and assistant head coach, Bryan Chiu as important allies, Bruno could slowly envision an opportunity playing at the next level with their tutoring. He needs to make sure he plays within the team concept.
Does Frank Bruno make the offense better?
In the last three years, Concordia’s offense has averaged 22 points per game. During those 27 games, they’ve scored less than 20 points in 15 of those contests. If the Stingers continue do go with their bubble, hitch, and corner route passes, then the answer is no.
With a player such as Bruno, it could force teams to play more zone coverage. Thus due to his presence it would entail that his cohorts such as Kristopher Bastien, and Mike Harrington would benefit the most. Not that Bastien needed any help, but how could a defense contain the likes of this trio by going man coverage?
Furthermore, a player such as Bruno, who has physically gotten bigger, is probably able to take on more pounding than in year’s past.
But if you’re the Stingers offensive staff, they need to devise a creative plan to maximize his ability that could benefit the entire team. It could mean one less defender in the box that would open up their run game.
Stinger fans have grown accustomed to seeing the offense repetitively go two and out. Now with Bruno on-board they’re hoping for more sustained drives.
Should Kris Robertson be concerned about his returner’s position?
I don’t think he should be worrying about losing his job. Robertson has grown into his kick and punt returner positions by becoming the premier threat in CIS.
But in sport, there is no harm in having competition especially where it would make Robertson hungrier to prove his worth.
Furthermore, both Robertson, and Bruno have been known to break open a game with a touchdown. So the potential scenario of having them on the field at the same time might make it difficult for the opposition to get off a clean punt for minimum gain.
Expect the Stingers to have better starting position if these two weapons get their hands on the football in the return game.
For now Robertson does not have anything to worry about, unless he isn’t getting the football kicked towards him.
Is Frank Bruno a huge loss for the Carabins?
Yes and no. Yes from the standpoint, a school does not want to ever lose a player of his caliber to a bitter rival in the Stingers.
However, no, Bruno never played under head coach Danny Maciocia; therefore, the Carabins didn’t really lose anything from their offense.
Moreover, it enabled the freshmen and sophomore receivers such as Mikhail Davidson, Philip Enchill, Jean-Christophe Morin-Phaneuf, and Felix Prevost to gain a first hand experience of playing University football.
They did an excellent job with key catches to compliment Rotrand Sene. Also, consider how young the Carabins offense is, for them to reach the 2011 Dunsmore Cup will go a long way in their development.
I am curious to see how Bruno fares against his old school. I am sure he will be carrying a chip on his shoulder.
Does Frank Bruno improve the win total for the Stingers?
Last year, Concordia lost by an average margin of 24.6 points per game, with the closet defeat at home against Sherbrooke where they lost by six points.
I believe Bruno could make the Stingers at least a five win team. His ability to shift momentum in-favour of his side would bode well.
Keep in-mind this Stingers squad is still young at key positions. The ascension of second year pivot, Reid Quest would be instrumental on whether or not the Stingers could be considered in the same discussion along with the big three of the RSEQ.
Bruno does steal a game, but it is a matter of the entire team keeping up with the elite of the conference. The real test for them is when they’re playing from behind. Could they learn from their past experience to overcome a deficit to win a football game?
Bruno will most certainly keep the football moving for the offense.
It is a calculated gamble to take on a player of Bruno’s ilk. He has proven to be very expressive on the field which at times hurt the Carabins during his stint.
But with the likes of Chiu, and Spence, I am sure Bruno knows this is his last chance to prove his value if he wants to play football at the next level.
Finally he would need to show his teammates, and fans that he still possesses that game breaking ability to win a game.