The Rouge et Or ready for a new campaign

The Rouge et Or will kickoff their 21st season with Saturday’s exhibition game at the TELUS-UL Stadium.

Dunsmore Cup finalist for the last two years, the Rouge et Or intends to do everything to reclaim the conference championship after surrendering it to the Montreal Carabins the last 2 seasons. “But the past can not count”, said Laval’s head coach, Glen Constantin. “We must look to the future”.

His team is optimistic for the upcoming season now that they are back on the field for training camp. Constantin will have to deal with many new faces, as seven players from last year’s team have moved on to the CFL.

This will be particularly visible on the offensive line, where four of the five 2015 starters left. “We have many young players who have talent. The pillar remains Jean-Simon Roy (4th year), “says Constantine, who is in his 16th season as head coach of the Rouge et Or.

Last year Samuel Thomassin and Francis Chabot benefited from the opportunity to contribute early last year. Recruits like Samuel Lefebvre may get the same opportunity to see the field early. “There will lots of competition for the starting positions, and it motivates everyone. The guys are progressing every day” added coach.

There is depth at every position on offense. “Whether receivers, running backs, or quarterbacks, the focus is on established guys”. “Hugo Richard will lead the Laval offense, with the departure of Maxime Boutin, running back Chris Amoah, will see his carries significantly increase.

Finally, there will be a tremendous amount of experience at the receiver positions. Felix Faubert-Lussier is appealing his 5th year of eligibility.  Felix Lechasseur, Tyrone Pierre, Nicolas Gobeil and Etienne Moisan will add veteran experience, along with Marc-Antoine Pivin, who was the AAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2015.

On defense, they Rouge et Or will now be replacing all 3 starting linebackers with the sudden departure of Pierre-Luc Caron.“I’m happy for him, but he left earlier than expected! With the loss of Shayne Gauthier and Mathieu Masseau, it’s big shoes to fill, “says Constantine.

However, he argues that this is a golden opportunity for others to take their place. He cites Marc-Antoine Varin and William Berryman, are the front runners to replace 2 of the 3 departed linebackers.

In the secondary, they will lose veterans Jean-Philippe Bolduc and Thomas Girard, but will rely on established players like Alex Hovington and Gabriel Ouellet.

“The return of Gabriel Marcoux also gives us a little more depth, while allowing young guys like Kevin McGee and Adam Auclair an opportunity to earn more playing time. This is a nice mix of youth and veterans, but it gives us the opportunity to prepare for the future”.

Young, but experienced, the defensive line will be a strength once again. The starters Matthew Betts, Edward Godin, Ugo Cavalancia and Marc-Olivier East are all back, but talented young players like Alexander Watson and Marc-Antoine Bellefroid provide depth for this group.

Dominic Lévesque returns in the kicking game. While the expected return of Antony Dufour as a returner is great news for the team. “It will help us a lot.

With files from: Laval athletics

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