SACKVILLE, N.B. – Peter Fraser left the five-day Mount Allison Mountie spring camp in a happy mood, pleased with what he had observed during the four days of solid workouts and hinting quietly that he is now hopeful of returning the team to the Loney Bowl come October.
Heading up his first camp in Sackville after having spent eight years with Acadia and one with Windsor, Fraser said he is confident there are talented and capable players in all the key positions on offense and while it may take some rejigging believes that there will be sufficient able bodies on defense to hold their own against the best in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC).
He feels the offensive line will prove to be one of the best in the country, with at least one possessing All Canadian talent. Meanwhile, he is confident that the pair of Chris Reid and Kiel Ambursley will more than do the job out of the backfield. And in Josh Hicks and Malik Richards he has a couple of the top receivers in the conference.
Asked about the as yet unfilled quarterback position, he responded that with the talent on the field all the signal callers need to do is get the ball in the hands of the play makers.
Offensive coordinator Gaetan Richard noted that all three prospects for the position – returnees Troy Downton, Graham Kelly and Brandon Smyk – conducted themselves well during the camp and looked comfortable in the pivot role, each showing a strong arm.
Meanwhile, five rookies will join the camp for pre-season training on August 10 and Fraser says he expects at least two of these young men will shortly join the mix.
Due to the late arrival of spring the camp was the first time the players were able to get outdoors on Alumni Field, while indoor sessions were conducted in the gymnasium. This allows for some action but does not permit the coaches to get a fair idea of what each can accomplish.
Richard said two guest coaches from Ottawa joined the regular staff and so this permitted work to be done with each section of the team – from line to linebackers and backs on defense and from line to backs and receivers on offense.
“We had a really good and productive four days of workouts,” said Richard following completion of the camp.
He mentioned some players who saw limited action last season due to injuries and other reasons who really caught the eyes of the coaches. These included receiver Adam Bennett who has been a member of Team Canada, Mike Dominico and Graham Stephens – all who showed they intend to earn the garnet and gold jerseys this coming season.
Fraser said he was impressed by the dedication and work ethic of former Titan Dylan Cormier, who will no doubt patrol the weak side linebacker position, and veteran Nate Rostek, a remarkably talented young man who plays various roles as dominator.
Fraser also had his eyes “opened” by the play of sophomore Charles Lavallee whom he claims should soon claim an All-Canadian position, while Nic Oppong will combine to give the offensive line two super players.
The new head coach has purchased a home in Sackville and will be moving with his wife here and should be in residence by June and will be in his office on a regular basis preparing for his first season as head coach. He previously served as associate head coach at both Acadia and Windsor. He will serve as defensive coordinator and no doubt work with one part of the defense on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the Mounties have lined up a pre-season exhibition against St. F. X-Men in Antigonish on Aug. 18 and on Aug. 24 will open conference play at home with Bishop’s Gaiters in town for an afternoon hookup.
With five teams comprising the AUFC, each team will have two byes during the season. Each will play eight games, four at home and four away, requiring 10 weeks to complete and thus the earlier start than usual.