By CLAUDE SCILLEY
There are very few secrets in football anymore, and it’s certainly not a secret that the last time they met, the Queen’s Golden Gaels ran the Carleton Ravens into the ground.
As they beat Carleton on the final day of the Ontario University Athletics season—thereby denying the Ravens a playoff berth—the Gaels rushed for 290 yards, their best game of the year. Playing close to home, Jesse Andrews had 245 yards of it, not only a career game for the junior from Arnprior, but the seventh-best game ever for a Queen’s back.
Might you suppose the Gaels will try to run the football tomorrow, when they host the Ravens for this year’s season opener?
“Early in the season you’d like to be able to lean on the running game significantly and get your quarterback in positive yardage situations on second down,” Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said, a generic comment that nonetheless seems downright prophetic for a man known for being coy about such things.
“Everybody knows that when you get in second-and-long situations, there’s more pressure on the quarterback, and the more times you put your quarterback in second and long, the more times he has to make a big play.
“We would like not to do that; for him not to have to be Johnny Unitas on every set of downs.”
Andrews, who was “nicked” and though he dressed, didn’t play in the preseason game at Concordia last weekend, is ready to go.
Sheahan, the dean of OUA coaches—this is his 16th season with the Gaels, his 27th as a head coach in Canadian Interuniversity Sport—considers Andrews to be the premier running back in the conference, and based on what happened last year, he expects Carleton to react accordingly. Indeed, in its exhibition game with Sherbrooke of the Quebec conference last week—the Ravens won 16-12—Carleton displayed a new formation, one with a three-man front.
“What the 30 brings you is multiple blitzes, all kinds of pressure schemes, from different parts of the field,” Sheahan said. “They have been, by and large, a 40-front team since their inception and they do have capable players to be able to play a 40; they also have capable linebacking personnel to be able to play a 30 as well.
“We expect to see both fronts. It gives you one more variable to cover in preparation.”
It being the first game of the regular season for both teams, Sheahan expects there to be timing issues and the type of errors that typically accompany opening day.
“On both sides there will likely be opportunities for big plays,” he said. “The team that is able to take advantage of those is going to be in a positive situation.”
Game time at Richardson Stadium is 1 p.m.