Football Mountie Matt Rose has proven his importance to the team time and time again. TOWER PHOTO
During the three years since he joined the Mount Allison Mounties, former Tantramar Titan Matt Rose has developed immeasurably ‚Äď both in stature and playing ability ‚Äď to provide his squad with an inside threat as well as solid blocking while taking on various roles when required.
As proof of his commitment to the team, Rose has devoted most of his spare time from classes in the weight training room. As a result he now packs a solid 205 pounds on a 6"3" frame as compared to being a 165-pounder just three years ago.
And during his first season he appeared in just one game ‚Äď that on special teams ‚Äď but since then he has had exerted a measureable impact on the Mounties. During the 2012 campaign when the Mounties began their breakout Rose was the primary receiver in a run-oriented attack. He caught 18 passes from Brendon Leyh for 222 yards and a touchdown. Then this past season the Titan alumnus was moved from a wideout position to slotback where his role was primarily as a blocker. As a result he was the recipient of only eight balls for 135 yards but had a high percentage of touchdowns to receptions ‚Äď two for eight. On top of that he held the role of kicker for several games, doing both kickoffs , field goals and converts, while doubling on special teams. As a result, number 11 was obvious on nearly every play.
Rose proved to be one of only a handful of "walkons" to make the team. He says he asked coach Kelly Jeffrey for an opportunity to attend training camp after enrolling for classes in January 2011. This followed time with the Moncton Junior Mustangs where he was quarterback and he knew, with Jake Hotchkiss in that role with the Mounties, he had little chance so moved to receiver on the advice of Jeffrey.
Rose played three seasons with the Titans first under coach David Burns and later Scott O'Neal. He was always a key receiver and enjoyed his time there but even after a period playing junior ball found the transition to the university level a major step. Prior to the Titans he worked his way up through the Sackville Minor Football System in pee wee and bantam. He also played with the hockey Titans for three seasons when they were entered in the tough Eastern Conference and later one season of Junior C in Springhill.
Discussing the sudden emergence in his second season, Rose said he and rookie quarterback Brendan Leyh quickly bonded and after a few quick out pattern completions they found themselves on the same page. And when Leyh was permitted they hooked up for some "bombs" and worked in unison.
Rose quickly accepted his role during the past season when he saw the arrival of Rodreke Joseph, an outstanding deep receiver and the development of Josh Blanchard as speedsters with good hands. He believes the arrival of Joseph forced opponents to pay extra attention to him, thus leaving other receivers more open targets for Leyh who has a "rifle for an arm."
Rose says if there is one thing he would advise his deep receivers it is to never stop running all out as Leyh is that good that he will find you with one of his bullets.
Summers spent in North Carolina as a lifeguard have contributed to his physical development, as they are required to do a lot of roadwork while he also joined a gym and continues his regular workouts throughout the off-season.
Tim is the son of Don Rose, former Sackville police officer and currently a constable with the RCMP in Cape Pele, and Sandra Rose, manager of lab services at the Amherst Regional Hospital, who resides in Sackville.
Matt says the Mounties have become a total team ‚Äď very much like a close-knit family ‚Äď and unlike any he has seen before and he is totally happy he has chosen this route to an education.
It is because of this unique team approach that Rose believes is the key to their most recent success. He says many things came together - the offensive line suddenly performed much better, Leyh proved he is a top quarterback in the CIS while the entire defense hung in even when the going was tough. He also is pleased to have seen the special teams come into their own, especially with another former Titan, Michael Bohan, showing the way with his roaming the backfield and returning punts with huge success.
He describes the "new look" Mounties as having come of age and a team that has really appealed to the greater community - one that should remain at the forefront for years to come. But he knows recruiting is so important and while the entire defense could be returning it is critical to find new people to prepare to take over in the years to come. And on offense he believes some big offensive linemen and tough running backs are needed right away, while it will be necessary to find players for all positions as many are due to graduate over the next two to three years.
Meanwhile, Matt Rose is closing in on a degree as he majors in Canadian studies and minors in history. If all comes together he will receive his BA next May along with a call to report for training with the RCMP a few months later, hoping to follow the same career as his dad. Should this fail to materialize he would be open to returning for a fifth season to provide some leadership to the Mounties, a team he fully believes is poised to remain strongly competitive.