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Anthony Parker (#33) hauls in a pass during a win over the University of Regina Cougars on Saturday.
Carey Puglak/the Gauntlet

Rookie rocks

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Rookie defensive linemen Linden Gaydosh has played every snap on defence for the Dinos football team this year. As an 18-year-old. This is somewhat unexpected.

"I did not, I was expecting to fight a lot harder than I did right now," he says.

"It's hard to believe he's an 18-year-old kid who's come in and he's played every down this year," agrees head coach Blake Nill. "He's a big strong kid. I think in the future you're going to see a lot of him. He'll probably have a very stellar career by the time he's finished."

Gaydosh has recorded four solo tackles, 10 assisted and two for a combined loss of six yards as part of a Dinos defensive front that has held opponents to an average of 90.4 yards rushing per game, just behind Universite de Laval for tops in the country.

"[The success of the rush defence] feels great, especially being a part of it," Gaydosh says. "Being a part of it is huge. It's kind of setting it up for next year and years to come after that."

Unfortunately, because of the Dinos' fantastic rush defence, teams have spent all season keying in on the Dinos' young secondary. It's no secret you can pick up yards with the pass against the Dinos, as teams have racked up 288.9 yards per game through the air, the fourth highest average in the country.

This is old news and was expected coming into a year when the Dinos lost a safety, halfback and a corner in the off-season, Nill says.

"We're going to go in each and every week and just try to improve it," he adds. ". . . We've got new guys. What we're hoping is that they'll improve over time and through the season, and know when the games start to count they'll be at their best."

The games, if you haven't seen the banners floating around campus, are going to start counting for a lot soon. Though there is a slight chance the Dinos can finish on top of the Canada West conference, if they beat the University of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies lose to the University of Regina Rams this weekend, it's more likely they'll be where they are now: in second place, either tied with the Huskies and losing out on the tiebreaker or just finishing there with a 6-2 record, home playoff date secure in hand.

"It's going to be a tough football game [against the Bears]," says Nill. "Their season is on the line, we certainly don't want to go into the playoffs by losing a game."

For one, Gaydosh doesn't have his eyes to the future at their playoff game at McMahon Stadium in a week and a half or even a potential Hardy Cup final at the University of Saskatchewan.

"I take things one week at a time I don't look too far ahead," he says. "We might not be there, so why bother?"

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