Gryphons kick off on Labour Day Monday (VIDEO)

In the last three years the Gryphon football program has gone from two wins to the OUA Finals, changing their culture and energizing a fan base. The next challenge: sustaining success and of course, winning a Yates and Vanier Cup title.

The Gryphons will open their 2014 season on Labour Day Monday in Hamilton against the McMaster Maraurders who finished last season 5-3 and losing in the OUA semi-finals. Game time for Monday is 1:00 p.m., watch a live webcast here.

Guelph will aim to improve on their 2013 after finishing 7-1 and falling in the OUA semi’s.

“In the last two years we have won more league games than any other OUA team but we have not yet achieved our goal of winning the Yates Cup,” commented head coach Stu Lang. “Our dedicated coaching staff which began four years ago has a team filled with our recruits, so we are excited about finally breaking through. Our players, led by a dedicated group of seniors, want to ‘finish’ the journey.”

Offensively the Gryphons will be looking to turn the corner and take the next step. Two years in a row they have performed well in the regular season which has set the expectations high. Now in the fourth year with the same offence, fans should see the playbook opening up and timing looking even better. The running game will continue to be dynamic with the duo of veteran Rob Farquharson and rookie Johnny Augustine now having experience in the CIS. Quarterback Jazz Lindsey is showing that he is continuing to grow and understand the game.

Key returning players at the receiver spot will be Alex Charette and A’dre Fraser. Both of these players started last year and will have to step up as the new leaders of the receiving core. Adding depth to this receiving core will be a combination of rookies Marcus Joseph, Trey Gervais and Quincey Reid who add size and speed to a group that has shrunk due to graduation this off-season.

On the offensive line the return of Matthew Nesbitt, Cam Wilhelm and Kyle Fraser to anchor the OL will be crucial. These players have been seeing time since being freshman and are now the leaders on that big OL.

Defensively the Gryphons will look to continue their stellar play from 2013 that held opponents to a mere 332 yards per game, good enough for first in the OUA and fifth in the CIS, and 17 points allowed per game.

Veteran Iain Hutchison will be looked to for leadership in the backend, while Tristan Doughlin has emerged as a huge playmaker and physical presence at free safety. Middle linebacker John Rush returns after missing six games in 2014, having been sidelined by a knee injury. Third-year linebacker Andrew Graham has been doing an excellent job in Rush’s absence and is a force in the middle. A good majority of the defensive line returns with another year under its belt and will be looking to add to its 34 sacks from last season.

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