Intense at will

Intense as you wish

DAY

Glen Constantin didn't have to look far to find out if his players seemed motivated for the start of the playoffs. He quickly saw the proof of this in training.

The Rouge et Or head coach admits to having seen quite a “contrast” between his team's two weeks of practice, which is preparing to receive the visit of the Concordia Stingers for the semi-final of Quebec university football.

The two teams meet for the second time in as many weeks, but, this time, much more is at stake than last Saturday. 

“This week we see even greater focus, greater energy. We have to temper the emotions and the energies a little. Sometimes we practice a little too hard for my taste. Now is not the time to injure yourself in practice.

In short, the level of intensity seems on point if Constantin is to be believed. And he certainly won't complain about it at the dawn of the “real season”.

“It's a good sign. It’s better to hold them back than to push them in the behind,” he laughs.

The importance of the ground game

After pinning Concordia 60-14 at the start of the season, the Rouge et Or beat them again 37-24 just last Saturday. In both cases, the aerial game was the spearhead of the Laval attack, but Constantin wants to establish a better balance with the ground game.

He cites the last duel as an example: 450 yards were won by air, against only 92 on the ground. “Last week, we didn’t run the ball as much as we would have liked. As much in terms of yards per carry as total yards,” notes the Rouge et Or honcho.

“In the playoffs you have to be able to control the ball on the ground.

The message did not fall on deaf ears. Rookie running back Kalenga Muganda wants to put his shoulder to the wheel.

“Of course it is,” he replies immediately when a member of the media asks him if he considered his coach's comments are personal. 

“The first game here in Quebec City was much better. Over there [at Concordia], it was different. But at the end of the week we will come back very, very strong, ”he promises.

Due to COVID and an injury, Kalenga Muganda hasn't had the excitement of a playoff game in a long time. He says he can't wait to taste it again.

“It's been a long time since I played a match with so much enthusiasm. Especially since we play them twice in a row. I can't wait to see how it's going to be. It's a match without a future. […] In each game you will have to give 100%. »

Stars everywhere

Not elsewhere, there are no less than 11 Rouge et Or players elected to the RSEQ all-star team. This is the best vintage since 2014, when 14 players were selected.

On offense, we find Arnaud Desjardins (quarterback), Kevin Mital (receiver), David Dallaire (center -back), Nicolas Guay (guard) and Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay (blocker). Defensively, Alec Poirier (linebacker), Maxym Lavallée (defensive back), Cristophe Beaulieu (defensive back), Jean-William Rouleau (tackle) and William Quenneville (defensive end) are among the chosen ones.

Vincent Blanchard (precision kicker) also finds his place on the all-star team.

“Eleven players, but it takes 40 for these guys to stand out,” recalls Constantin. […] We are happy. On the other hand, the merits that we want to have are those for which we do not vote, but those that we win on the ground. »

Over 8,500 tickets have already been sold for Saturday's game, which will be played at noon.