2012 CIS Football Team Preview: Ottawa Gee-Gees
Source: Ottawa Sports Info / Photo credit: Richard Whittaker
2011 regular season record: 5-3
2011 regular season standings: 4th in OUA
2011 playoff record: 0-1
2011 playoff finish: Lost 50-33 to Windsor in OUA quarter-final
The 2012 Gee-Gees return almost the entire lineup from the 2011 squad which posted a 5-3 regular season before being upset in the first round of the OUA playoffs. A close-knit group of players and coaches know that the base has been built to return the team to the top of the playoff heap. Veteran CFL coach Gary Etcheverry takes over the reins on the sidelines, bringing a new perspective on how to get the most out of the players.
Quote from head coach:
We’re looking forward to building on what was begun here last year defensively and there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement but I was really pleased with the starting point for the style of defense.
Offensively we’ve got some real weapons; we aim to score early and often – and fast. We think we have the ability not only within our plays and schemes but we have the ability within our players to do that, marrying our players to the scheme. We’re excited to have people to see what we can do on offence.
We’re atypical in style, but everything is results-based. The bottom line is production and contributing to a win.
Head Coach Gary Etcheverry:
- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2012):
- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2012): 1
- Career regular season record with team: n/a
- Career regular season record in CIS: n/a
- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): n/a
- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): n/a
Number of returning starters: 11
Key returning players: Aaron Colbon (QB), Brendan Gillanders (RB), Simon Le Marquand (REC), Tyler Servais (OL)
The Ottawa offence which posted the sixth highest yardage in the CIS should be able to build on their success having lost only one player to graduation. Back for a second season as the full-time starter at quarterback is fifth-year pivot Aaron Colbon. Last year, Colbon had the sixth-best season by a quarterback in Gee-Gees program history, throwing for 2052 yards and 18 passing touchdowns. Also returning is Colbon’s favourite target in fourth-year receiver Simon Le Marquand. Le Marquand was ranked second in the CIS last season in terms of receiving yards, with 867 yards. Running back Brendan Gillanders, now in his fourth season, is also a huge weapon for a varied Gee-Gee offensive attack.
Key recruits or transfers: Vincent Campbell (REC), Zac Lesko (QB), Scott Watson (REC)
Vincent Campbell joins his brother Julien on the Gee-Gees after earning an RSEQ all-star nod with the CEGEP de l’Outaouais Griffons. Campbell impressed with his speed and nose for the endzone during his three years at the CEGEP. Zac Lesko, of Edmonton, could be the heir apparent at quarterback, while Scott Watson of Montreal, Que. will be another young receiver to watch progress through the depth chart.
Key losses: Bogdan Raic (REC)
Number of returning starters: 12
Key returning players: Matt Bond-Lapointe (DB), Chris Daly (CB), Robert Griffiths (LB), Ettore Lattanzio (DL), Tyler Sawyer (LB)
The Gee-Gees are expected to be much improved on the defensive side of the ball, coming out of last year’s transition season with defensive Corey McDiarmid returning for his second season at uOttawa. In the trenches, the Gee-Gees will be led by sophomore Ettore Lattanzio, a talented pass-rusher who tallied the most sacks on the team last season with five. The linebacking corps will be in good hands with versatile veterans Tyler Sawyer and Robert Griffiths providing a steady presence against both the run and the pass. Sawyer, heading into his fifth season, garnered an OUA second team All-Star nod last season and was Ottawa’s leading tackler with 37. The Gee-Gees’ defence led the country in number of turnovers forced last season with 26 total (14 interceptions, 12 fumbles recovered), in part due to an opportunistic secondary—which included ball-hawking defensive backs such as fourth-year Matt Bond-Lapointe. Bond-Lapointe had three interceptions and seven pass breakups this past season. Fifth-year defensive back Chris Daly is a stout tackler who is also effective in blitz packages and he will be a force to be reckoned with in the secondary—he has 88 tackles and seven interceptions so far in his CIS career.
Key recruits or transfers: Ty Cranston (DB), Josh Hill (LB), Sammy Rupcic (DB)
Key losses: none
Key returning players: Matt Falvo (K), Franck Ngandui (RB), Soonbum Cha (DB)
Veteran kicker Matt Falvo is on pace to become Ottawa’s all-time leader in field goals made, cementing his rightful place in Gee-Gees history. He has been the backbone of the team for the past four seasons while the team has gone 22-10, kicking 55 field goals through the uprights over that time. He needs three more this season to break the program record and move into third spot in the OUA record books, where the top rungs will be in sight.
Key recruits or transfers: Domenic Bellardini (K/LB)
Key losses: none