Photo courtesy of Gord Mellor
Last season the Edmonton Huskies were one win away from clinching their first Prairie Conference championship in 13 seasons. They have retooled and are ready to make another run at the title here in 2019 opening the season on August 17th when they host the Calgary Colts. As a matter of fact the Huskies will play at Clarke Park Stadium in each of their first four games.
This upcoming season the Huskies will look different with over 20 players moving onto University rosters from last year’s team.
Changes but continued continuity on the coaching staff is the biggest change for the Huskies. Last season’s offensive coordinator Rick Walters has left to take on the OC position at the University of Alberta. Special Teams Coordinator Reid Knox is also joining the Bears staff as well. This has allowed Sam Schwab, who has been the receivers coach for the past four years to step in as the OC assisted by offensive line coach Bryan Marshall as running game and protection coordinator. Branden Modin, the linebackers coach is stepping into the Special Teams Coordinator role. Former CFLers Marcus Henry (Recs) and Randy Spencer (D-Line) have joined the staff for this season.
OL TJ Solboda and Jack Hanna were All-Stars for the Huskies and have now graduated moving onto play for the University of Alberta this year.
LB Oshane Samuels and Vince Schiffner were anchors on the defence last year and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in the offseason. They will both play for the University of Manitoba this season. Samuels had 28 tackles last season, had a sack, blocked three kicks, had a knockdown and an interception. Meanwhile Schiffner compiled 20 tackles, three sacks, recovered a fumble for a 25 yard touchdown and had a 104 yard pick-six.
LB Jassen Brown was a CJFL All-Canadian who has led the Huskies defence for the past five seasons. He was a beast last year with 34 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception.
What They Need:
The Huskies are looking for their next starting quarterback. Last year’s starter Tommy Yanchuk who completed 108 passes for 1523 yards and nine touchdowns has left for the UBC Thunderbirds.
SR Sam Clayton and Harrison Cabel are two physical receivers that will be leaned upon to lead a young offence and continue the success the receiving core has shown over the previous seasons.
RB Brandt Burzuk was a Prairie Conference All-Star last season carrying the rock 102 times for 722 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
DB Justin Hodinsky was an All-Canadian safety last year and will step up to lead a young defence. Last season he tallied 24 tackles, blocked a kick, had four knockdowns, a fumble recovery and four interceptions including an 87 yard pick-six.
For some this coming Saturday is the biggest day of their young lives, as the CJFL presents its National Signing Day.
The day is earmarked every year on June 1st, the day in which players can finally sign with a CJFL club. When a player signs he is essentially signing for his entire junior football career as the player then becomes the property of that team.
Some players have attended multiple Spring Camps to get an idea of their best fit. So many considerations are made before signing with a CJFL club; location, team support, roster depth, coaching staff, scholarship program, etc all weighs in on a player’s decision.
National Signing Day is not only exciting for the players, but the coaches as well. Their ideas, hopes and hard work will finally come to fruition as they start to fill their roster spots.
Following Saturday coaches can continue to recruit and sign a player immediately if he’s a good fit for their team. That said the bulk of the players ready to play in the CJFL will sign on Saturday.
Once players sign on the dotted line, coaches can begin developing their schemes and systems around their potential starters. They can also begin preparing for their Main Camp along with Week 1 of the regular season.
All three Conferences and 18 CJFL teams will participate on Saturday, signing players to their 2019 roster.
Fans can keep up to date with CJFL National Signing Day on social media with #CJFLSigning as teams will be posting once a player signs.
The Ottawa Sooners will have a new man at the helm this season as they have announced former star quarterback Wayne Jacobs as their new head coach.
Jacobs enjoyed a very successful playing career which included an outstanding stint quarterbacking the Sooners and was highly recruited across North America. He left Ottawa for Texas to quarterback for the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (NCAA Divison 1). After UTEP, he returned home to be the starting quarterback for the University of Ottawa GeeGees.
Following his collegiate career, Jacobs travelled to Europe to play professionally. He played for the Lyon Falcons (France 1st Division), Landquart/Calanda Broncos (Euro and Swiss Premier League), and the Oslo Vikings (Norwegian 1st Division and Euro Champions League).
Since retiring from his playing days Jacobs has been coaching quarterbacks for over 20 years. His coaching career started at the tender age of 17 at the city and high school level. When his playing career took him to Europe, Jacobs brought his extensive coaching knowledge and passion with him to the European leagues. He served as the offensive coordinator and then head coach of the Oslo Under-19 Team. He also spent time working with the quarterbacks for the Swiss Junior National Team.
Once returning to Canada, Jacobs expanded his resume serving as the quarterback coach for the University of Ottawa GeeGees, the CEGEP d’Outaouais Griffons, the head coach of the Ottawa Invaders, and the passing game coordinator and quarterback coach for the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.
He is currently coaching in Europe, but will return to the Sooners in plenty of time before they open the season August 17th when they travel to Hamilton to take on the Hurricanes.