By Annie Randhawa, September 11 2014 —
After crushing the University of Alberta 71–3 at Kickoff, the Dinos look to continue their strong play as they march towards the Vanier Cup.
“We’re hoping we can be playing at the end of the year and compete at the national level, which will be tough this year,” Dinos football head coach Blake Nill said.
The Dinos recruiting class and depth at all positions have them ranked second in the nation. Led by third-year running back Mercer Timmis — last season’s Canada West MVP after his record-breaking season at running-back — the Dinos’ are ready for another season.
“This season in general will be different. After losing in last year’s Vanier Cup, we have trained differently and we want to exceed what we did in 2013,” Timmis said.
Nill believes that the team’s defence will lead to a breakout 2014 season.
“This defence could be the best that I’ve had in Calgary,” Nill said. “The competition in the secondary and at linebacker will be as stiff as we’ve ever had. There will be great football players who won’t be on the field.”
The Dinos managed to retain key veterans this season, as last year’s defensive squad was made up of 11 new starters.
Doctor Cassama and Thomas Spoletini explored options in the offseason, but decided to return for another season with the Dinos.
“We have more experience this season since most of our players are veterans. It’s an easier situation in regards to insertion plays. We know our expectations,” Nill said. “We want athletic linebackers who can play the game sideline-to-sideline. Guys like Cassama and Spoletini fit that role.”
Their speed, depth and athleticism makes the Dinos competitive in every situation. The linebacker group is made up of athletes with great range and momentum. They are also the veteran leaders on defence.
“Every year our goal is to play to our potential. That can bring us lots of success,” Nill said.
The Dinos still have a decision to make regarding who will receive the starting quarterback position. Front-runner Andrew Buckley played phenomenally in the season opener. But after being injured in the first game of last season, quarterback Eric Dzwilewski is back and ready to compete for the starting job.
“Dzwilewski is going to be given every opportunity to get back into the starting position, and it’s going to be a tough decision,” Nill said.