After an emotional double overtime loss in the Panda Game, the Gee-Gees (2-3) will try to avoid losing a third straight game for the first time since head coach Jamie Barresi took over. Travelling to Waterloo in the short week, the Garnet and Grey will matchup with the Laurier Golden Hawks (2-3) on Friday night which will have huge playoff implications for both teams.
Receiver Ben Fisher says that the quick turnaround after the Panda Game has forced the team to regroup quickly. "It has to be with the Friday game. We move on from it right away there’s not point on dwelling on it like that. “
At the halfway mark of the season, head coach Jamie Barresi says that the focus on the ground game for both his offence and defence must be improved. “We need to be able to stop the run much better, that’s been a big problem all year. Secondly we need to run the ball better we haven’t done that very well.”
He however adds that the offensive issues with the ground game lie not with running back Bryce Vieira, but with the coaching staff and his young offensive line. “Bryce played pretty well. The issue is we need to see things as coaches. The offensive line has to execute better.”
While he has the nation’s most prolific quarterback-and-receiver-combo in Derek Wendel and Ian Stewart, Barresi still thinks the team’s aerial game could improve. “ We throw the ball OK but we need to be more efficient when we do." Citing last week’s game as an example he continues: “There were moments when they needed to finish the drive in overtime and we dropped the ball a few times; we needed to make a play there.”
The Ottawa defence has the daunting task of stopping Laurier’s all-star runner Dylan Campbell, who returned to the Hawks this season after being drafted to the CFL in the spring. Though Campbell’s average of 123 yards per game is once again among the best in CIS, he’s just the figurehead for a very potent running attack for the Golden Hawks; the team is averaging 197.2 yards per game on 5.5 yard per carry.
Last week in a 42-0 win over Waterloo, Campbell had 241 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Laurier also had five runners with at least 20 yards.
After falling to Carleton, the Gee-Gees are once again going from battling for playoff positioning to battling to now just make the playoffs. “Having lost that game it makes each one from here on out that more important; they’re all must wins now,” shares Fisher.
The game will be played on a Friday night and though it was a common time for games in high school, in university it can change the dynamics of the game day routine. Fisher however says that the Friday night-lights game is always special. “It’s always cool to play under the lights but it’s almost a challenge because you’re changing your game day schedule. We’re used to playing at 1 o’clock every week. You do the same thing every morning and everything is at the same time. It throws things off when you do it at night and a day earlier but it is fun to do.”