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Uottawa

Season Preview - Football

Monday August 29, 2016
3 football players posing in uniforms
Photo: 
Gord Weber

Ottawa will begin its season on September 5 at Waterloo, having drawn a week one bye for the second consecutive season. The Gee-Gees home schedule features McMaster, Guelph, York, and Western, while the Panda Game at TD Place will take place October 1.

The Gee-Gees offence was the major focus in 2015, ranking third in CIS yards per game with an average of 528 mainly through the air thanks to senior quarterback Derek Wendel and All-Canadian receiver Ian Stewart. Wendel threw for 500 yards or more twice in 2015, averaging 392 for the season, and connected on 24 touchdowns which set a school record. Ottawa has been a pass-focussed team under Jamie Barresi and there’s no reason to suspect this won’t continue. The depth on offence is strong at training camp, including a large group of recruits on the line.

This off-season, Ottawa revamped its defensive coaching staff and will now take to the field under coordinator Jean-Vincent Posy-Audette needing to improve on its 2015 campaign in order to boost the Gee-Gees back up the standings. The Gee-Gees struggled against the rush last season, but did get through to opposing quarterbacks 18 times, including four against Guelph, to rank eighth in the nation.

 

Head Coach: Jamie Barresi

- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2016): 4
- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2016): 4
- Career regular season record with team: 13-11
- Career regular season record in CIS: 13-11
- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 14-13
- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): 14-13

 

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players: Derek Wendel (QB), Mitchell Baines (REC), Bryce Vieira (RB), Ibra Ndaiye (OL)

Wendel, entering his third season as a starter, was second in CIS with 3136 yards last year and now sits at 5927 for his career. His 216 completions set a new single-season CIS record. He finished the season with a 564-yard game against Toronto.

Baines caught seven TDs in 2015 with an average of 68 yards per came. He was invited to the CFL’s Montreal regional combine this spring where he clocked a 4.67 forty.

Vieira, a third-year, has proven his versatility. He has logged over 100 all-purpose yards per game in each of his first two seasons and caught 18 passes in 2015.

 

Key recruits or transfers:
OL Mitchell Eisan from Thomas A. Stewart S.S. - Peterborough, Ont.
OL Patrick Spelman Nelson H.S. – Burlington, Ont.
REC - Frednick Eveillard – CEGEP Outaouais – Gatineau, Que.
REC - Dylan St. Pierre – St. Francis Xavier H.S. – Ottawa, Ont.
FB – Jason-Lee Jones – CEGEP Sherbrooke – Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que
 
Key losses: Ian Stewart (REC, 1st Team All-Canadian), Cody Moynes (OL), Ben Fisher (REC)
 

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players: Ty Cranston (S), Khadim Mbaye (LB), Brendan Beaudry (DB), Jackson Bennett (LB)

Cranston, who originally hails from Winnipeg, represented Ottawa at the 2016 East West Bowl and has added significant size heading into his fourth season. His injury late in 2015 was tough for the defence to overcome.

Mbaye led the garnet and grey with five sacks in 2015, ranking ninth in CIS.

Jackson Bennett was an OUA All-Rookie Team member in 2014 before a shoulder surgery at the end of August kept him out of action for 2015. Originally a running back, he made the switch to safety but now moves up to linebacker.

Beaudry will be the veteran in the secondary for Ottawa, entering his fifth year of eligibility. He logged 23.5 tackles and two pass breakups in 2015


Key recruits or transfers:

DE - Parker Bolton – Transfer from Saginaw Valley State – Almonte, Ont.
DT - Tramayne Stephen - Northern Secondary School – Toronto, Ont.
DB - Muhammed Faye – CEGEP Champlain-St. Lambert – Longueuil, Que.
DB – Daniel Shaw – Richview High School – Toronto, Ont.
LB - Evan Holmes – Horton High School – Wolfville, N.S.
LB - Reyd Kessler – Bowness High School – Calgary, Alta.


Key losses: Marc-Antoine Laurin (LB), Mack Tommy (LB), Rashid Timbilla (DL), Zach Wilkinson (DB)
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Key returning players: Lewis Ward (place kicker), Domenic Bellardini (punts), Kalem Beaver (returns)

Ward attended the 2016 East West Bowl. The fourth-year out of Kingston kicked his career long field goal of 48 yards in 2015.

Bellardini also enters his fourth season and averaged 35.9 yards per punt attempt in 2015 with a long of 53 yards.

Beaver, who is also a receiver, broke through with 92 all-purpose yards per game in his rookie 2015 campaign. 566 of his 735 yards came on kickoff returns, including a 102-yard TD.