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Laurier quarterback has 'great football genes'
Posted: October 4th, 2013 @ 1:52am
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
It was as good an opportunity as a young quarterback could want: A competitive training camp on a team coming off a losing season with no heir apparent at the position. Of high hopes can come bitter disappointment, however, and at the end of Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks' training camp this summer, James Fracas was told he wasn't good enough.
His coach, Michael Faulds, knew exactly how devastating that news could be.
"Quarterback and running back are the two positions where there's just one guy on the field," said Faulds, the Western Mustangs QB as recently as 2009. "If you're a receiver or a DB or a lineman there are four or five guys at your position on the field at a time, whereas at quarterback it's one guy. Not many teams rotate quarterbacks and if you're not the guy it can get very frustrating."
Faulds recalls the day he gave the starting job to someone else as the day Fracas truly began to impress his new coach.
"James was really mature about it," Faulds said. "You could potentially put your head down, have your tail between your legs and sulk and not compete anymore and give up but James did the opposite. He came to practice every day and he prepared as if he was the starter. He worked extremely hard. He never complained.
"I was proud of him. I told him, 'You've got to stay ready, you're always one step away from being the guy.' We gave him his opportunity in Week 4 against Waterloo and he flourished."
Laurier snapped a three-game losing streak that day. Fracas followed that with a strong performance in a losing cause against Western - "and we all know the opponent they are this year," Faulds said - and he threw for 313 yards against Windsor last week in a game where he led two scoring drives in the last seven minutes to tie the game, only to lose it in overtime.
Fracas has grown his passing yardage in each game and he's completed 62.7 per cent of his passes, making him the 10th best in that category in Canada.
"He's the ultimate competitor," Faulds said. "It probably stems from his grandfather."
Fracas is the grandson of Gino Fracas, former Canadian Football League star who was one of the game's grand men in the years he presided over the program at the University of Windsor. The award presented annually to the outstanding volunteer assistant coach in Canadian university football is named for him.
Faulds said if James has a sense of his legacy in the game, "he doesn't show it," but at the same time you can see commonalities.
"His grandfather was a tough player and James has those same attributes," Faulds said. "He never complains about being sore or tired. I never have to worry about him giving 100 per cent. He works extremely hard, he encourages everyone else to work harder. The players around him see that.
"He's not a rah-rah guy who's got to talk a lot, but he definitely leads by example."
It's a quality that's apparent just from studying game film, Queen's coach Pat Sheahan says.
"He's a character kid," Sheahan said. "He's got great football genes. He's emerging as a player, he really is. He's a decent passer, he's a great ball handler, a good runner. My observation of him is he's a great competitor.
"I had oodles of respect for his grandfather as one of the great football minds in this country, and I think he would be proud of that young man today."
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