The Carillon brings you the weekly news from the University of Regina.
Coach McCrystal says defence is key
by Matt Coxford
It would appear the University of Regina Rams football club is picking up where they left off last December.
After going all the way to the Vanier Cup national championship last year, the Rams are continuing their winning ways. They won their season opener September 1st by a score of 29-40 over the visiting Manitoba Bison. They followed that up with a demolishing of the University of Alberta Golden Bears 36-7 in Edmonton this past weekend.
³Weıve been playing really solid defence,² explains Rams head coach Frank McCrystal. ³Weıve been defending the run very well and getting the ball back in the hands of the offence.²
There had been speculation that the teamıs quarterback, Darryl Leason, would be playing professional football this year.
McCrystal points to Leasonıs return as another reason for their success. ³Darryl being back again, being familiar with the offence also helps.²
Thatıs a bit of an understatement given that Leason garnered the Canada West Offensive Player of the Week Award for the first week. Teammate linebacker Jeff Zimmer responded by winning the defensive recognition this week.
The U of R football club started the season ranked third nationally. On the strength of their weekend win and a Laval loss, the Rams find themselves in second place.
While McCrystal admits that being the favourite does add pressure to the team, he says it is the welcome kind.
³This is a kind of positive pressure in that youıre recognized as one of the top teams and sometimes that can work in your favour.... ³Weıre a pretty confident team, but weıre hopeful that weıre not overconfident. We know that the league is very strong and very competitive.²
Last weekendıs game at Laval attracted more than 18,000 spectators to their game against Concordia. McCrystal says heıd like to see the Ramıs initial success translate into a big crowd for this weekendıs tilt against the Saskatchewan Huskies.
³We had well over five thousand [fans at the season opener] and weıd be hopeful of a good crowd this weekend. Weıd [also] hope for a great deal of support for the homecoming game.
³[The homecoming is] something new for this university. It really catches on at other universities. Itıs a big part of the kickoff to the fall term.² The homecoming events are Friday September 21, when the Rams will host the UBC Thunderbirds.
³Weıd really like to have the University population...seize the team as their own and come out and enjoy the event. Weıre hopeful itıs a good, entertaining fall day.²
The Rams are aiming to take advantage of the 2001 Churchill Bowl, being hosted by this yearıs Canada West champion.
³Weıre trying to gain ourselves a playoff spot and from there position ourselves...so that we donıt have to travel,² says McCrystal.
Having home field advantage for such a game would, among other things, have the least adverse affect on the Ramsı educational endeavors.
While expectations for the Rams this year are high, McCrystal isnıt about deme anything less than the Vanier Cup as a failure.
³I donıt want to hang anything on a team that says, If you donıt do this, you fail.ı I think that in and of itself [would be] a failure. What weıre hopeful of is to play as well as we can play, to set individual goals as well as team goals and if you do those things...then generally, the score looks after itself.²
Questions or comments? Email Erin Mazur, Acting Technology Co-Ordinator.