While most University of Calgary students are still enjoying their much-needed time off from classes, the Dinos football team is already hard at play. With the 2004 season rapidly approaching our men in red are roaring to go. The team began their training camp Aug. 20, having as many as three practices a day! Camp concluded Fri., Aug. 27 with an exhibition game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears held in Raymond, AB.
Last season the Dinos finished fifth overall in the Canada West conference with a final record of four wins and four losses. A 10-43 loss against Simon Fraser University knocked the team out of a playoff spot but the Dinos hope to put the past behind them.
The Dinos will be suiting up this season without leading players like Agustin Barrenechea (affectionately known as "Goose" to his teammates) who was recruited by the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Ryan Folk (recruited by the Montreal Alouettes) and Tyler Lynem (recruited by the Calgary Stampeders). After losing some key players the question becomes--is there enough promising new talent to fill the cleats left behind by Barrenechea, Folk and Lynem? Dinos Head Coach Tony Fasano certainly seems to think so.
"In university sport you lose players each year and they were three very talented kids," Fasano explained. "We had to address some challenges on both sides of the ball, but we were lucky to have had a really good recruiting year. Sean Bunting, Adam Ford, David Raborn, and Robin Cote are just some of the players that are looking very promising."
With all the new first year players joining the team, it is comforting to know that the Dinos have 17 returning starters to help out. Key returning offensive players include Quarterback Charles "Chuck" Guedo who returns for his third season as a starter.
"Chuck has a lot of confidence in the pocket; he's a real take-control kind of guy. He's really matured as a quarterback and you'll see that on the field. He's worked really hard in the off-season and has the respect of his teammates and coaches which should make quite a difference this season," said Fasano.
Last season Guedo threw for a total of 1,219 yards and rushed for 215 yards in only seven games.
Anchoring the starting offensive line are powerhouses Mitch Hoschka and Evan Haney. Other returning offensive players include Jeff Williams (rushed for 387 yards and scored six touchdowns) and versatile player Stephen Hughes who has been known to play as a running back, slot back and punter--at times all in one game. Hughes is returning after being able to play in only four games last year due to injury.
Brent Hargreaves and Dave Holowaychuck are two other pivotal receivers that return this season after missing most of the 2003 season due to injuries. Key defensive returnees include Canadian Interuniversity Sport second team All-Canadian defensive end Dan Federkeil (27 solo tackles), Jeff Montgomery (29 solo tackles and two quarterback sacks) and Ryan Saurette (28 solo tackles, two interceptions and one quarterback sack).
The Dinos first regular season game will be held Fri., Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. at McMahon Stadium against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Come out and watch the Dinos send the dogs home with their tails between their legs!