GeeGees Image
Uottawa

Season Preview: Football Opens at Home September 6

Thursday August 27, 2015
Gee-Gees defence runs to cover the field
Photo: 
Gord Weber

The Ottawa Gee-Gees returned to the OUA semifinals in 2014 thanks to a series of strong showings late in the season which included a 38-18 win over then undefeated McMaster in the final game of the regular season and a playoff win at Windsor. Ottawa enjoyed a productive season on the offensive end, ranking fifth in the nation with an average of 503 yards per game.

The leaders of that offence, quarterback Derek Wendel and running back Bryce Vieira, return this season along with the top five receivers, meaning Ottawa should be pretty comfortable on the offensive end. Defensively, the biggest question facing the Gee-Gees is how to fill the hole left by J.P. Metras Award winner Ettore Lattanzio on the defensive line. Seniors Rashid Timbilla, Andrew Randall, and Sam Randazzo have the experience and will be relied upon to stop the dangerous OUA rushing games.

Ottawa is pegged to have one of the toughest schedules in the OUA this season, facing all five of the 2014 playoff teams including road games against Western, McMaster, Laurier, and Guelph. Ottawa will kick off the season against Queen’s at home on September 6 after the bye week comes early in week one. The Panda Game will return to TD Place on October 3 where the Gee-Gees plan to wrestle Pedro back from the Carleton Ravens. Forced to fight their way into the post-season in week nine last year, this year’s squad will be looking to make a statement early and earn the right to host a playoff game.
 

Quote from head coach: Jamie Barresi

“These guys should never feel like underdogs - at all. We accomplished a lot last year and it wasn’t a fluke. Every game is a story in its own this team is going to be prepared to take on anyone.”

 

Head Coach: Jamie Barresi

- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2015): 3

- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2015): 3

- Career regular season record with team: 10-6

- Career regular season record in CIS: 10-6

- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 11-8

- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): 11-8


OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 9

Key returning players: Derek Wendel, Bryce Vieira, Ian Stewart

Derek Wendel enters his second season as the starting QB and he will have all of his top five targets from last season when he averaged 271 passing yards per game at a 62.4 per cent completion rate. The Ottawa running game also looks solid with both Mack Tommy and Bryce Vieira returning. Vieira flourished in his first CIS campaign, tallying an average of 114 yards per game after stepping into the starting role. That included a 170-yard performance against McMaster and the multi-talented Montreal native scored seven touchdowns across rushing and receiving. The key for Ottawa will be shoring up the offensive line around centre Cody Moynes, as the team lost three starters to graduation.

Key recruits or transfers:

Jamie Harry (receiver; Lachine, Que.: Vanier College; 476 yards on 23 receptions)

Cameron Lougas (offensive line; Keswick, Ont.; Huron Heights S.S.; 6-foot-6, 304 pounds, won OFSAA championship in 2013; York Region All-Star)

Carter Matheson (receiver; Kingston, Ont.; Frontenac S.S.)

Key losses: Adam Valchuk (OL), Taylor Servais (OL), Joe Adesina (OL)


DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 9

Key returning players: Nic Lecour, Rashid Timbilla, Jackson Bennett

Ottawa’s starters at linebacker all return, led by second team OUA All-Star Nic Lecour and East-West Bowl participants Tanner Care and Marc-Antoine Laurin. This could be a breakout season for Khadim Mbaye, who was second on the Gee-Gees with five sacks from the linebacking position. Jackson Bennett made multiple starts at safety and earned OUA all-rookie team status. On the line, Rashid Timbilla and Andrew Randall bring steady veteran presence to the end positions while the tackles will be filled by younger faces. Look for Ottawa to use its large contingent of linebackers to cycle through and keep fresh to defend the rush.

Key recruits or transfers:

Charles Bender (defensive line; Austin, Texas; Del Valle H.S.; 6-foot-1, 255 pounds)

Ryan Lipomi (linebacker; Pinehurst, North Carolina; Pinecrest H.S.; 5-foot-9, 215 pounds)

Key losses: Ettore Lattanzio, Randy Williams, Mike Randazzo

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Key returning players: Lewis Ward, Dominic Bellardini, Bryce Vieira, Jackson Bennett

The kicking tandem of Ward and Bellardini returns for a third season, while Ottawa’s two outstanding returners will occupy the minds of opponents. Ward’s 86 per cent field goal conversion rate a year ago ranked fourth in the CIS, and his range is now over 40 yards deep. Vieira was second in the nation in all-purpose yards with 170 per game while Bennett scored one of only four return touchdowns. Ottawa was second in the CIS with an average punt return of 12.2 yards.   


Key recruits or transfers: none

Key losses: Vincent Campbell

 

2014 regular season record: 5-3

2014 regular season standings: 5th OUA

2014 playoff record: 1-1

2014 playoff finish: Lost 42-31 to McMaster in OUA semifinal

Video: