By Ryan Laverty
The silver lining is beginning to tarnish.
After being blown out in Manitoba two weeks ago, the Dinos football team was obviously dejected. They were riding a high going into the game, but were simply beaten by a stronger team. Their 44-3 shellacking at the hands of the nationally unranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies may have been a direct result of bruised ego. It is a reality not lost on Head Coach Tony Fasano.
"The guys really didn’t exude confidence going into the game," he explained. "When you have young players who don’t have that confidence you’re going to struggle."
Struggle was evident all game long. Missed tackles, dropped balls and generally poor play translated into a lean 196 yards of total offence for the Dinos and a massive 469 yards for the Huskies.
"Saskatchewan was able to run the ball and throw the ball fairly effectively," continued Fasano. "In addition, we had some miscues, we turned the ball over five times and we struggled with field position–which obviously hurt our confidence."
The Dinos need to regain some of their lost confidence if they expect to win against this week’s opponents, the Regina Rams. That said, the team has the opportunity to upset a powerhouse who will almost certainly come into Calgary cocky and unworried. In order to do that, they need a better performance than last week from everyone–the quarterback all the way down to the special teams players–no exceptions.
"I don’t think our guys gave up," said the coach. "But I don’t think they played with the type of spirit, or passion that you have to play with at this game. And I think that shows their inexperience."
The Rams, with a record of 4-0, are currently the only unbeaten team in the Canada West Conference and ranked number two in the country. They will undoubtedly storm McMahon Stadium with their massive aerial assault and will try to further squash the hometown boys’ egos.
The Dinos’ overworked defence won’t get a break against quarterback Darryl Leason who has already thrown for over 1,100 yards on the year–and he’ll have a lot of help. Big-time receiver Jason Clermont, who leads the conference in receiving yards, and stud running back Neal Hughes, who is third in rushing, are just two of the many weapons in the Rams’ heavy arsenal.
"We expect them to air the ball up early and often," replied Fasano. "They’ve got a solid offence that knows how to score. What we have to do is make them earn every point they put up against us."
If this year’s football contingent is going to restore any shine to their illustrious program, the offence will need to start scoring a few points themselves.