Gaetan Richar, shown above in his job as a personal trainer, will assume the position of offensive coordinator with the football Mounties for the coming season.
Should disaster somehow strike the Mounties prior to the 2014 season and they fail to launch into a winning streak, building on their Uteck performance in 2013, football fans will still be entertained by activities on the sidelines and in front of the team’s bench whenever they have the ball.
Head coach Kelly Jeffrey recently announced that offensive line coach Gaetan (Gates) Richard has been appointed to the position of offensive coordinator for the coming season.
Now Richard has gained a good deal of attention for his animated behaviour in the past as he had been assigned duties to manage the run game. With arms whirling, legs dancing and body churning he delivered the message to the quarterback. But just think of the additional entertainment value when he has responsibility for sending in all of the offensive calls. Certainly, it is hoped, only he and the players will know what each contortion means and that it will be properly read and carried out.
The question arises as to what changes we might see in the type of game he might call as opposed to the one his boss would.
Jeffrey has long been recognized as a very conservative game caller, probably due to his training up through the ranks in the United States where the run game is by far the most common. One player has already expressed the view to your columnist that fans will see the ball in the air far more often than in the past.
But any coach will tell you that three things can happen when a passing play is called – and two of them “ain’t” good. If all goes as planned, the ball will be caught by an alert receiver, but then it could also fall incomplete, which isn’t all that bad, but then the third possibility always exists in that an opponent will step up and make an interception, and that definitely isn’t good.
Until midway through the season Jeffrey played it safe. He had his workhorse, Jordan Botel, carry the ball, which he did on 376 consecutive occasions without committing a single fumble, thus the safety factor came into play in a big way. But it is difficult to win games with a one-dimensional offense and there is some impression that Richard will go for a high production high-risk attack.
Without a Botel to batter the defenses but with an outstanding arm in Brendon Leyh, it would appear as though Mountie fans may be in for some more exciting games featuring a high power offense.
Richard tacitly admits that with the absence of Botel the aerial game will likely become more prevalent. Most fans support such a decision while knowing the risks that come with such a decision.
Jeffrey, who has a long history of nurturing good quarterbacks, will continue to work with Leyh and backups as well as receivers but will have time to devote to the special team units – the third but equally important unit of any successful football team.
In Richard and defensive coordinator Scott Brady, Jeffrey has two key assistants who bleed Garnet and Gold, both having played their university ball as Mounties. Richard, who came to the Mounties from the Mathieu Martin Matadors in 2003, devoted the next five years in the Mountie offensive line. He proved to be a ferocious defender of quarterbacks and your columnist often heard opposing coaches asking, “What is that guy trying to do – is he sometimes crossing the line?”
But he developed his skills to such an extent that he was hired to coach the line the next year and for the past three seasons has worked with New Brunswick’s Under 18 team, last season taking over as the head coach and offensive coordinator. With the Mounties he has helped mold such prominent linemen as Mike Filer, Aaron Harper and a host of youngsters last season as they emerged as a strong unit, especially in their last game – the Uteck Bowl.
Brady was an undersized running back who took many a pounding but never stopped ticking. He was often inserted on third and goal and short yardage situations but soon discovered his strength was in understanding the game as opposed to playing it. So he has build a strong reputation in that area and for the past two seasons has assembled a strong unit capable of adjusting to a variety of schemes on any given situation. Using his recruiting talents he has assisted Jeffrey in landing such stalwarts as Donovan Saunders, Michael Bohan, Kwame Adjei, Te Nguyen and most recently, Devante Sampson.
From every indication it appears as though both Richard and Brady are honing and polishing their coaching skills under Jeffrey with the intention of becoming head coaches at some point in the future. But while they are here Mountie supporters will continue to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Actually Jeffrey has surrounded himself with a solid corps of coaches, including most who have performed for the Garnet and Gold. In addition to Richard and Brady he has Gord Francis, who in in charge of the running backs. Francis was an outstanding back in his day and led the team to a near-upset of UBC Thunderbirds in 1997. Last season he had Aaron Harper, Brandon Dubs, Justin Richard and Bradley Daye – all former outstanding players with the team. In addition, Terry Tait and Pete Miller brought experience as they commuted from Moncton.
Some of these younger coaches – most likely Harper and Daye – may not be returning as they have obtained employment elsewhere but Jeffrey feels confident in his staff and believes the program is in good hands with athletic director Pierre Arsenault providing the inspired leadership needed to encourage success.
So, Mountie fans have much to anticipate – a solid effort from all three units and special entertainment offered up by a highly animated and emotional signal caller from the bench.