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  • Reeve Batstone

Cruise Control

Photo: courtesy Toronto Argonauts


The Argos continued on cruise control, defeating the toothless Ticats, while cycling selected players through their lineup. 


Chad Kelly needs to continue to play but not every minute of every remaining game. He should start the remaining games to stay sharp but not finish any of them. If the Argos can build two touchdown leads he should exit. There is no reason for him to play more than a half per game for the rest of the season. It's just not worth the catastrophic risk of Kelly getting injured seriously. It's also important to determine which, if either, of their back up quarterbacks can play and can be developed for the longer term. 


Let's also see what some of the Canuck linebackers can do on first down. The Ticats looked like a deer in the headlights. Brissett looked great with more playing time. McManis and Pickett remain lethal playmakers. 


Around the League

The CFL delivered another week of entertaining football. Montreal outlasted Calgary leaving the Stamps just about done. They won’t make the playoffs in either division. 


Saskatchewan's QB, Jake Dolegala, has won games this year by not turning the ball over. Against Ottawa he turned this narrative on its ear by morphing into a turnover machine. The most egregious occurred in the pocket in which he was carelessly holding the ball below his waist making it an easy target for a fumble. He looked like he had regressed and his pocket awareness was almost absent.  On the positive side, Ottawa QB Dustin Crum did not beat himself and completed 21 of 27. Devonte Williams reeled off spectacular runs on the way to rushing for 136 yards. Would the real Saskatchewan Roughriders please stand up?!


Edmonton's Tre Ford played another strong game v BC completing 20 of 27 with 2 TDs and no INTs. In spite of the 37-29 loss it was still a marked improvement from the two previous shutouts at the hands of the Lions this year. After being buried on the depth chart by his coach earlier this season Ford has become the most exciting player in the league to watch. It was especially impressive that despite being sacked 7 times by BC he did not turn the ball over. 


I may be the only person who cares but I could not help but notice the huge difference in the quality of lighting between the Elks, Redblacks’ and Argo’s game. Say what you want about Commonwealth and BMO but these stadiums provide excellent lighting for night games. TD Waterhouse stadium does not and the turf in Ottawa reflects light to the point where the field looks like it's wet when it's not. The lighting at Elks and Argos home games is professional grade. Ottawa another story. 


USPORTS

The biggest surprise in the OUA this year has been the University of Windsor. Led by Head coach Jean Paul Circelli who is supported by his father Mike as D-line coach and brother Joe as his OC, they have rolled to a 4-0 start including a convincing 29-5 victory over the Queen's Golden Gaels. Unfortunately for Queen's they have lost their starting quarterback, mid season, two years in a row, rendering another appearance in the Yates Cup very unlikely. One of the interesting characteristics of the Lancers turnaround this year is that they are featuring almost 20 Americans on their roster. They aren't all from nearby Michigan either. They have come from Universities and Junior colleges across the US, including Maine, Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and New Mexico. If it exposes more Americans to our exciting brand of football, I say fill your boots Windsor. 


Rapporteur or Saboteur?

Meanwhile on the left coast SFU continues to dither on the mess it has made of its cancelled football program. The school just announced that it had released the report of its "special rapporteur", consultant Bob Copeland. SFU hired him to give it time to gauge the resilience of the opposition it was getting to closing its football program. Towards this end, Copeland was not asked to make recommendations. Ironically this ended up being an own goal when Copeland highlighted the obvious and concluded that it would require work for the university to adequately resource the program and have it reinstated and successful. Copeland was the Athletic Director of the University of Waterloo from 2009 to 2013. In 2010, nine players on the Warriors were caught using performance enhancing drugs leading Copeland to cancel the program for one season. Woefully inadequate financial support by SFU has been self evident to everyone and exposed the university once again to its lie that the cancellation of football had nothing to do with money. Universities love to preach about how they are bastions of academic integrity and freedom of speech. This hypocrisy was rich. Everyone can see where this is going. If the Commissioner of the CFL can do a, better late than never, mea culpa over its stats fiasco, certainly the SFU President can swallow her pride and get real over their cost cutting on the backs of student athletes. It may be painful but it's how you regain respect and credibility, albeit slowly.  


A statement of responsibility along these lines would be timely and welcomed:


Over the last months and indeed years our University has struggled to adequately support our beloved football team. We regret that a decision to cancel it was taken without adequate and transparent communication with its members, our alumni, donors and the public. We are very sorry for the undue stress, disruption and uncertainty this has caused our students and those committed to the program. This is something we hope to rectify but we will need the help of the football community, alumni, donors and business community to do it. Towards this end we are initiating a public engagement process to develop a plan to return our football team to its former glory and rejoin its brethren in USPORTS. I thank all of you for your patience and commitment to SFU and we look forward to regaining your trust. A further announcement on who will lead this planning and fundraising process will follow.


Respectfully, President, SFU


A mea culpa like this would end this self inflicted, public relations nightmare and kickstart a football call to action and fundraising campaign to field the team again.

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