Finished 2011 in 5th place (3-6)
No longer part of the team:
Steven Turner, WR/KR
Jermaine Lewis-Parris, DB
Tyler Jutras, LB
Grant Carr, OL Kingston
The coaching staff
Ben Groulx and Tony Addonna are out, it’s now Kevin Mackey’s team. The young head coach can count on veteran defensive mind Ray Gagnon to lead his defense as former WR coach Brent Bailey takes the reins of the O.
- Jordan Heather, QB – Best of his class in 2011: will he be able to repeat without Ben Groulx calling the plays?
- Adam Hughes, OL – Brings veteran leadership to a critical offensive front.
- David Haddrall WR – A more than reliable target on a pass first offense.
- Harrison Maloney, DB – Uncontested leader of his team, he’s one of the best DBs in the conference.
- Elie Ngoyi, DL – A rare physical specimen and a true sack machine; needs to stay healthy.
- Ryland Smith, DB – Has the size and skills to match any WR in the conference
- Alexander Fox KR – Dangerous whenever he touches the ball, may it be on offense, kick or punt returns.
Ryon Mccalla, RB – If the Gaiters can establish a run game with the 2nd year tailback, they could hang in there for some tight wins.
- MY FEELING -
The Gaiters didn’t take the easy road to the 2012 season as a late coaching nomination has profoundly affected their recruiting class. This will not have a big impact on the present campaign but will have repercussions for years to come. Nevertheless, the Kevin Mackey led team has a solid core of veterans both on offense and on the defensive side. Their biggest challenge will be to keep up with their positive momentum in the air (2nd on pass defense in 2011 and 1st on pass offense) as they improve on and against the run.
On offense, it all starts with the offensive line. It’s safe to say they do not have the most talented group so they will have to compensate by being one of the tightest and most effective. Their biggest challenge will be to maintain the same level of production from QB Jordan Heather with the loss of offensive coordinator and mentor Ben Groulx. Jordan does have some premium targets to throw the ball to but allow me to doubt that their pass game will be as effective with the loss of the former HEC Creighton as the playcaller.
Luckily for the purple and white, Ray Gagnon is still at the helm of the defensive unit. We can expect a high risk, high reward scheme where he brings a lot of pressure and trusts his defensive backs to make plays on the ball. For them to rack up some wins this year, their defense will have to create turnovers and put their offense in position to score.
Once again, a lot of pressure will be on the shoulders of kicker/punter Mathieu Paquette. His team needs him to score when in position and to control the battle of field position. The potential Russ Jackson trophy nominee spent the summer in Africa working on his NPO; hopefully he spent some time kicking as well.
The Gaiters certainly don’t come in as a playoff favorite: it would’ve been hard for their offseason to go worse. But they come in, as they do every year, as a tight bunch of players from Lennoxville, a place where there is not much to do except training and team bonding.
Can’t miss matchup: Their week 4 and 5 back to back matchup against the Redmen could very well decide their faith.
If coach Mackey can keep his team united and strong, they could be a surprise player in the playoffs. I just wouldn’t bet my house on it.