After a shorter-than-usual training camp and the absence of a pre-season game, Glen Constantin believes Laval University Rouge et Or is still ready to start their season on Saturday, while University of Sherbrooke’s Vert & Or will be visiting PEPS.
The training camp ended and the preparation for the Vert & Or started on Thursday after a day off.
“With a week-long camp and no pre-season game, it was a good challenge to run a productive and efficient camp while also making sure the players had fresh legs for the first game of the season,” explained the Rouge et Or head coach. Us wanted the guys to have enough volume, but we also wanted to avoid injuries.
Constantin sees the Rouge et Or in a better position than at the same time last year.
“We haven’t played a pre-season game to confirm the players’ reaction, but we are in a better position, especially defensively, where we’ve grown as a unit and gained maturity,” he said. Cohesion is much better and there seems to be a lot on the tertiary line.
“On offense we have depth in the running back and receiver positions and the overall game on the line is better even though we lost two good players,” continues the Laval driver. As quarterback Arnaud [Desjardins] got more volume than last year when there was a fight for the starting position and we split the playing time.
The Rouge et Or meet the Vert & Or, who defeated Laval for the first time in their history last year in Estrie by 23:17.
“Sherbrooke beat us for the first time and they will believe in their chances of winning again more than ever,” said Constantin. It was a good lesson showing that we need to play our best football in all games and not save it for games against Montreal. This defeat allowed us to progress and get better.
Nicolas Guay agrees. “This defeat against Sherbrooke was the alarm signal that there are five good teams in the RSEQ,” emphasized the veteran guard. We’ve all seen what’s going on at Penn State and we’re looking forward to playing that first game in white. It will be fun when we enter the stadium, but it will be a game like any other from the first whistle.
For his part, Mathieu Lecompte doesn’t think this historic victory will have any impact on Saturday night.
“It was fun to win the first game but the past has no future,” he said. We don’t look back because it doesn’t work. We’re not talking about the past year, we’re focusing on the present moment.
element of trust
However, Lecompte knows what he wants for the future. “Winning a first game at Laval is a goal next to my bedside table.”
In the second leg, the Vert & Or had no weight with a 2:45 loss, but they had lost quarterback Anthony Robichaud, who was 7-7 at the time of the injury, and receiver William Marchand.
“It doesn’t matter what team, it’s difficult when you play in a hostile environment like Laval and you lose your number one quarterback.”
A RECORD WITHIN KONSTANTINE’S REACH
Glen Constantin needs just five wins to break the record for most career wins by a Canadian varsity network coach.
In his 21st season at the helm of the Rouge et Or, the Laval driver has 191 wins under his belt, including the playoffs, compared to 196 for Brian Towriss, who led the Saskatchewan Huskies for 33 years.
“It’s a privilege to have been in this position for so long and to be able to rely largely on the same coaching staff,” he said. It will be my name that will be recognized, but it is an honor for the program and a team effort. Regardless of our record this season, the goal is to win the last game of the year. In order to win, you have to concentrate on the task at hand and prepare well. We don’t talk about it and I’ll make sure it doesn’t become a distraction.”
Constantine and the Rouge et Or have upset the established order over the years. “When I started, the other teams only had one full-time coach and we managed to professionalize the coaching profession, even if there is still a lot to do. I think we contributed to that change.”
“Coming back from Houston in 1996, I remember telling you in the PEPS basement that I wanted to make Quebec Canada’s Texas to go after the Laval driver. Quebec is in a good position. When I returned to Quebec I had given up the NCAA.
By the end of the 2000 season, however, Constantin had accepted an offer from his mentor, Lloyd Carr, to coach outside linebackers with the Michigan Wolverines.
A phone call from team president Jacques Tanguay changed course. “With the colors of Michigan, I was in Trois-Rivières recruiting when Jacques called me. He offered me the position of head coach.
Alex Poirier is ready
Injured in the first game of the Dunsmore Cup, Alex Poirier ensures he’s ready to reclaim the collar.
RSEQ 2021 defender par excellence, Laval University’s Rouge et Or centre-back dislocated a shoulder during the opening whistle of the clash against the University of Montreal’s Carabins. After he fell to the ground, an opponent fell on him.
Poirier had gone under the knife upon arrival at Laval in 2019 to fix a similar issue on his other shoulder. “It was day and night, he imagined the two operations. This time I recovered a month and a half faster. During the camp I had no problems. I’m 100% ready for the start of the season.”
Given the stakes, the Champlain College-Lennoxville Cougars product had attempted to continue before being forced to resign. “After a couple of games I couldn’t feel my arm anymore,” he said. I stopped helping the team. The Carabins took advantage of his absence to have a very good afternoon on land, gaining 206 yards and three touchdowns from Bertrand Beaulieu en route to a 28-19 win.
However, if he is back at his best, this injury has changed his plans. “I was eligible for the CFL draft, but I took my name off,” he said. I could not have attended the national evaluation camp in Toronto and would not have been ready for the training camps in June. I only got the green light two or three days before the start of our camp in Laval.
Poirier has gained weight during his recovery, but he’s not worried. “I gained about ten pounds, but I can move and haven’t lost any speed,” the 260-pound linebacker said. We’re all solid guys in the family. I want to lose five kilos at the start of the season.”
The fourth-year linebacker is optimistic the defensive unit will be up to the task. “We had several recruits last year and the guys are now more used to the system. To mark [Fortier] can participate in all games and his notebook will be fully opened.
Charles-Lee Alarie Tardif has also gone under the knife and is entering his second season with confidence. “I’ve never been in better shape since my freshman year,” said the defender. I can’t wait to pass this on to the field. My hip has healed and I am more flexible. My start is better and the attacking players have to respect my verticality. Over the last year I’ve used the Bull Rush technique a lot due to limited mobility and it’s not my specialty.
A decision that hurt
Alarie Tardif says he studied last year. “My pride was hurt a lot when I wasn’t dressed in the first game,” he said. This decision hurt me, but also made me work a lot. The gap between college and university is huge and I was lucky enough to hit the best offensive line in our conference to improve.
“I started in the playoffs but my position is not guaranteed,” adds Alarie Tardif. I will have to fight every day and it will allow me to get better.
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