2014 RSEQ Football Team Preview (4/6): Concordia Stingers
2013 regular season record: 0-8
2013 regular season standings: 6th place in the RSEQ
2013 playoff record: None
The last couple of football seasons were challenging for the Concordia Stingers, but now it’s time to move on. To that end Mickey Donovan has taken over the head coaching responsibilities and has definitely brought a high-energy approach to running the team.
It will be a new look and a new vibe for the 2014 Stingers.
There’s several new co-ordinators in Patrick Donovan (defence), Matt Connell (offence) and Marc Calixte (special teams) who bring a wealth of experience and very positive approaches. There’s a lot of fresh faces in the lineup as well. Approximately 130 players came through camp, and the coaching staff elected to keep 40 veterans and about 60 newcomers.
A lot of the talk going into camp surrounded Donovan’s recruiting of American players, especially out of Texas. Those players have not disappointed. In fact a few will be starters right away.
On offence, the Stingers will be exceptionally young with just six starters back and there will likely be a more balanced attack than in the past few years.
“The receiving corps is pretty special,” said Donovan. “But were young at every position except receiver.”
Defensively, the Stingers’ have nine starters back, including halfback Kris Robertson who returns after a year’s absence. He was exceptional in the 25-18 preseason victory over the Queen’s Gaels on Aug. 24. The entire defensive backfield was impressive in that game.
“Kris is a great leader,” Donovan said. “It’s exciting to be coaching him instead of against him. There’s great leadership on that side of the ball. The vets are doing a great job at guiding the young players.”
As usual special teams, especially the kicking game with Keegan Treloar, will be stellar. Robertson, the two-time all-Canadian return specialist, will have a big impact.
Overall, it’s too soon to make any predictions.
“We’re very young and very athletic, but we’re still trying to find ourselves,” Donovan said. “The character is great. The family is sticking together and the team is gelling. We’re aiming high. We will have high expectations every game.”
Head Coach Mickey Donovan:
- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2014): 1
- Career regular season record with team: 0-0
- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 0-0
- Preseason victory over the Queen’s Gaels 25-18.
OT Roman Grozman – 3rd year, Tel-Aviv, Israel – Grozman has been the Stingers’ most talented offensive lineman since the day he first stepped on the field in 2012. He’s powerful, aggressive and finishes every block. He checks in at 6’4” and 310 lbs. His impressive football résumé includes playing for the World Team at the under-20 championship in Austin, Texas, in February of 2011. He is considered a top prospect for the 2016 CFL draft.
SB Shayne Stinson – 4th year, Brossard, Que. – Stinson is definitely a player to watch out for this season. In 2013 he caught 32 passes for 363 yards and a touchdown. He’s a smart route runner and breaks tackles after the catch. He brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team. In the preseason game versus the Queen’s Gaels, he was the Stingers’ top receiver with three receptions for 56 yards. He participated in the 2014 East-West Bowl last May.
SB Jamal Henry – 4th year, St. Constant, Que. – There are high expectations for Henry this year. In 2013, he caught 23 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns. Henry is one of the key leaders on the team and is instrumental in helping to guide the younger players. He participated in the 2014 East-West Bowl last May and was the leading receiver for the East with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.
QB Colin Sequeira – Montreal (St. Paul’s Prep School) – Sequeira has been impressive in his first training camp. Donovan has praise for his strong arm and decision-making. He’s also pleased with how well he is adjusting to the university level of play. In the preseason game, he completed eight of 11 passes for 94 yards and did not throw an interception. He also scored a touchdown on a plunge from one-yard out. In Quebec, he was a standout at Selwyn House School where he once threw for 527 yards, eight touchdowns and three two-point conversions in a single game in 2011.
OG Kenny Johnson – Fort Worth, Texas (Missouri Valley College) – Several new linemen have joined the Stingers this season, but it’s Johnson who has earned the highest praise from Donovan. Johnson has impressed the coach with his intelligence, athleticism and team-first attitude. He’s also catching on to the Canadian game quickly. The all-district lineman from the Texas high school ranks is 6’2” and 280 pounds.
RB Gunner Tatum – Crane, Texas (Crane High School) – Tatum, who checks in at six feet, 215 pounds, carried the ball 226 times for 2165 yards and 18 touchdowns in his last season with the Golden Cranes. He also caught six passes for 100 yards and two TDs. He is a first team all-state running back and the district defensive MVP. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. He carried the ball 15 times for 98 yards in the preseason win versus Queen’s.
QB Reid Quest – Regina – Last season he used his final year of eligibility. His poise, maturity and experience will be missed. During his three seasons with the Stingers, he threw for 5,000 yards and 29 touchdowns.
SB Kris Bastien – St. Lambert, Que. – Bastien, a two-time Quebec all-star, was drafted in the third round, 26th overall, by the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. He caught 37 passes for 592 yards and six touchdowns in eight games in 2013.
SB Mike Harrington – LaSalle, Que. – There’s no doubt the Stingers will miss Harrington’s hard-nosed style of play. He could be counted on to pick up the tough yards across the middle and in traffic. Last season, he caught 38 passes for 435 yards. This season, he joined the Concordia coaching staff and works with the receivers.
Key returning players:
HB Kris Robertson – 5th-year Pickering, Ont. – After four seasons as a defensive back and return specialist Robertson was selected in the second round of the 2013 CFL draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His dreams were cut short by an injury that sidelined him all of the last season. The two-time all-Canadian returner is back with the Stingers for his fifth and final season. He was in fine form in the preseason game versus Queen’s. He took back an interception 42 yards for a major.
DT Sam Narkaj – 2nd year, Toronto – Narkaj arrived in August of 2013 and was relatively unknown to the coaching staff. He earned a spot on the dress roster and had a solid rookie campaign. This year he has made people take notice with his strength (32 reps on bench press) and intensity on the field. He has been a force in training camp, and Donovan is looking forward to watching him make his mark in the conference this season.
S Mike Charland – 3rd year, Gatineau, Que. – Charland is already attracting a lot of interest from the CFL scouts, even though his draft year is 2016. His scores for physical testing are off the charts, he has exceptional leadership skills and he delivers. He was the leading tackler in the RSEQ in 2013 with 46 solos and 13 assists for 52.5 tackles. He also snagged three interceptions.
CB Connor O’Brien, Westmount, Que. (transfer from St. Lawrence University) – O’Brien played football at Selwyn House School, St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. and St. Lawrence in Canton, N.Y. With the latter, he suited up in 2012 and 2013. He recorded 28 solo tackles, 17 assists, eight breakups and two interceptions over two seasons. Last season he earned Liberty League second team all-conference honors. Donovan says he is a very physical player and is very knowledgeable about the game.
LB Jeremy Pelletier, Châteauguay, Que. (Vanier College) – Coach Donovan has been very impressed with Pelletier’s work at training camp and his football ability. At 6,2”, 220 lbs., he brings good size to the position. He also has good speed and has been clocked at 4.74 in the 40.
DT Andre McKissack – Crandall, Texas (Crandall High School) – McKissack is probably the most talked about recruit the Stingers have ever brought in. He has not disappointed in training camp. Donovan says his young star is strong, explosive and will demand double-teams this season. The 18-year-old has a maximum bench press of 450 pounds and a maximum squat of 590 pounds. He runs a 5.0 40-yard dash.
LB Alex Lemire, Otterburn Park, Que. – Lemire has been a mainstay with the linebacking corps for four seasons. He’s been a quiet leader and extremely dependable. He earned respect for his exceptional work ethic, his intelligence on and off the field and his team attitude. He always made time to help the younger players.
LB Max Caron, Kingston, Ont. – How do you replace a Presidents’ Trophy winner who is now in the CFL? A linebacker who rewrote the RSEQ and Concordia record books? Big shoes to fill for the Stingers.
DT Quinn Smith, Scarborough, Ont. – Again how do you replace a lineman who was a first round CFL draft pick? A very athletic big man, he was dominating in the trenches. His versatility, strength and quickness will hard to replace.
Key returning players:
K Keegan Treloar – 4th year, Brandon, Man. – Going into his draft year, Treloar will be doing everything he can to prove he is worthy of a shot in the CFL. Last year he connected on 11 of 14 field goals, including successful attempts from 48 and 50 yards in the same game (Sept. 28 vs. McGill). His average was 51.2 yards on 29 kickoffs.
P Clark Green – 2nd year, Chatham, Ont. (Chatham-Kent Secondary School) - Green was a member of Team Ontario West in 2011 and he earned Golden Horseshoe all-star honors in 2011 and 2012. He checks in at six foot three, 175 pounds. In his rookie campaign he averaged 35.3 yards on 69 punts.