GAMEDAY: RAMS vs UBC
DATE: Friday, Sept. 2
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Mosaic Stadium (Regina, Sask.)
BROADCASTS: Live radio on 620 CKRM, live webcast at www.canadawest.tv, tape delayed on Access7 to Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
The Rams and UBC open up the Canada West schedule on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. Regina defeated Manitoba by a 15-7 score in a non-conference game last weekend and is ranked No. 6 in the first FRC-CIS poll of the new season, while UBC was defeated by Menlo (Calif.) College 39-13 last Saturday and enters the game unranked.
• The Rams were ranked first in the Canada West preseason coaches' poll, garnering four out of a possible five first-place votes, while UBC was ranked fourth
• Friday's game marks the first time since the 2005 season that the Rams have opened up the Canada West schedule against a team other than Manitoba and the first time since 2002 that Regina and UBC have met in the first week of the season
• The Rams have won four consecutive games over UBC in a streak that dates back to 2007
• Running back Adrian Charles needs just 28 rushing yards to join Neal Hughes and Graham Mosiondz as the only University of Regina players to record at least 1000 in a career
• Quarterback Marc Mueller needs 190 passing yards to hit 5000 for his career; only Teale Orban (9449) and Mark Anderson (5654) have hit the milestone in U of R history
• Cornerback Jamir Walker is currently tied with Steve Ryan for the school's career lead in interceptions (9) and is the U of R's all-time leader in interception return touchdowns (3)
• The Rams and the Thunderbirds met once last season, with Regina scoring a 41-6 win over UBC on Sept. 24 in Vancouver
• The two teams will also square off on Saturday, Oct. 15 in Vancouver
UNIVERSITY OF REGINA RAMS (0-0)
With almost their entire roster returning from last year's squad that finished in third place in the Canada West standings with a 5-3 record, there's high hopes for the Rams as they enter the 2011 season.
The U of R's offence, which ranked second in the conference last season with 281 points scored, will be controlled by fifth-year quarterback Marc Mueller. Mueller will again have a strong receiving corps to throw to, as Brenden Owens, Mark McConkey, and Jared Janotta all return while newcomers Ian Miller (Saskatoon Hilltops) and Jay Smith (Regina Thunder) figure to see plenty of playing time. Adrian Charles, who was a first-team All-Canadian and set a University of Regina record with 972 rushing yards last season, will again be a threat on the ground in his final season as a Ram. The offensive line should remain strong even with the loss of John Hashem and Devin Hillier, as Brett Jones will transition into a full-time starter and former Joel Hrycyk (Saskatoon Hilltops) is expected to step in immediately.
The Rams also lose just two starters from the defence. Logan Brooks, Stefan Charles, Benton Gieni, and Akiem Hicks all return on the line, while Ryan Wellman (Vancouver Island Raiders) will also be back in the mix after a season of junior football. The backfield is led by first-team All-Canadian cornerback Jamir Walker, while Kirby Kezama is expected to slide over to safety in place of the graduated Matt Yausie. Mike Kerr, Steve Famulak, and Daniel Knaus should all retain their starting positions in the backfield, while newcomer Cody Johnstone (Regina Thunder) will get the start at the corner opposite Walker.
Punter/kicker Chris Bodnar - a Canada West all-star last season - returns for his fourth season of eligibility after leading the conference in 2010 with an average of 41 yards per punt. Bodnar also threw the longest completion for the Rams last year, throwing a 73-yard touchdown pass to Yausie on a fake punt against UBC in Week 4.
The Rams hit the road for the first time in 2011 next weekend, as provincial rivals Regina and Saskatchewan will meet next Friday at Saskatoon's Griffiths Stadium.
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA THUNDERBIRDS (0-0)
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Shawn Olson, the UBC Thunderbirds are looking to get back into the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 season. The Canada West preseason coaches' poll suggests that UBC has a shot at doing just that this year, as the Thunderbirds were tabbed to finish fourth in the conference ahead of Alberta and Manitoba.
UBC's offence is guided by fourth-year quarterback Billy Greene, who led all Canada West pivots with 564 rushing yards last season. Greene was also one of three quarterbacks in the conference to register at least 2000 passing yards in 2010, ending up with 2157 and throwing nine touchdown passes. Fifth-year running back Dave Boyd is back and healthy after missing most of last year due to injury and is just two years removed from a 2009 season which saw him finish second in Canada West with 782 rushing yards. UBC returns its top two receivers from last year, including slotback Spencer Betts and wide receiver Jordan Grieve. Left tackle Patrick Sullivan is a huge addition for the Thunderbirds, as he'll start for UBC immediately after winning a Vanier Cup with Queen's last season.
Two returning Canada West all-stars highlight the Thunderbird defence. Defensive end Serge Kaminsky returns for his fourth season of eligibility after registering 23 tackles and 2½ sacks last season, while cornerback Sam Carino finished second on the squad in 2010 with 27 total tackles and had two interceptions. UBC has an interesting mix of experience on the defensive side of the ball - Kaminsky, Carino, Connor Flynn, Devin Kavanagh, Levar Hayden, and Chris Mark are all fifth-year players expected to start for the Thunderbirds, but UBC will also be relying heavily on the contributions of several first-year players including linebackers Alex Bojilov and Jake Woodson and tackle Geoff Piper.
After Friday's game, UBC will prepare for another road game as the Thunderbirds will travel to Calgary for a Week 2 matchup against the Dinos on Sept. 9.
FORMER RAMS IN THE PROS
The list of former University of Regina players now toiling in the professional ranks is led by Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, who was both a receiver and a kicker for the Rams from 2000 to 2003.
Nine former University of Regina Rams are now in the CFL, including Chris Bauman (Edmonton), Jason Clermont (Saskatchewan), Tamon George (Saskatchewan - practice roster), Chris Getzlaf (Saskatchewan), John Hashem (Montreal - practice roster), Neal Hughes (Saskatchewan), Nick Hutchins (Saskatchewan - nine-game injured list), Brendon LaBatte (Winnipeg), and Jordan Sisco (Saskatchewan).
RAMS PLAYER NOTES
• #8 Mark Coons (RB, 5-8, 185, 4th - Regina Thunder) - Joins the Rams after being named a Prairie Football Conference all-star last season with the Thunder.
• #9 Chris Bodnar (P/K, 5-11, 190, 4th - Saskatoon Hilltops) - Changed his uniform number from #8 to #9 this season ... named a Canada West all-star last season after leading the conference with an average of 41.0 yards per punt.
• #10 Cody Johnstone (CB, 6-0, 180, 4th - Regina Thunder) - Is expected to step in and start at cornerback in his first season at the U of R ... was named a Prairie Football Conference all-star in 2009 and 2010 and the PFC's Outstanding Defensive Back in 2009.
• #13 Justin Edralin (HB, 5-9, 165, 2nd - Sheldon-Williams Collegiate) - Started at halfback in the non-conference game against Manitoba ... had 11½ tackles last season.
• #14 Marc Mueller (QB, 5-11, 205, 5th - Sheldon-Williams Collegiate) - Has led Canada West in passing yards for two consecutive seasons ... needs 190 passing yards to join Teale Orban and Mark Anderson as the only University of Regina players to hit 5000 in a career.
• #15 Kirby Kezama (S, 5-11, 190, 4th - Balfour Collegiate) - Started at defensive halfback last season but will slide over to safety to fill in for the graduated Matt Yausie ... had 29 tackles and an interception during the 2010 conference schedule and added another pick in the playoffs.
• #18 Mark McConkey (WR, 6-2, 190, 4th - Lord Beaverbrook HS) - Led Canada West with 45 receptions last season, a total which ranks third in the U of R's single-season record book ... is tied with Brenden Owens for sixth on the school's all-time list with 109 career receptions.
• #19 Steve Famulak (DB, 5-10, 185, 4th - Regina Thunder) - Tied for second in the conference with 4½ sacks ... was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 3, 2010.
• #21 Jared Janotta (SB, 6-3, 212, 2nd - Michael A. Riffel HS) - Played in just two Canada West games last season, but caught 14 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns ... added four catches for 70 yards against Calgary in the Canada West semifinals.
• #22 Jamir Walker (CB, 5-10, 181, 4th - Sheldon-Williams Collegiate) - Became the first defensive back in U of R history to be named a first-team All-Canadian last season ... also became the first Canada West player since 1986 to return three interceptions for TDs in a season.
• #23 Connor Haas (SB, 5-9, 170, 4th - Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS) - Finished third on the Rams with 25 receptions in 2010 ... recorded 322 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.
• #24 Brady Aulie (DB, 5-11, 197, 3rd - Lumsden HS) - Missed most of the 2010 season due to injury, but recorded nine tackles and two pass deflection in three games played.
• #26 Ty Buhler (WR, 6-2, 195, 2nd - Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS) - Started at wide receiver against Manitoba last week and had two receptions ... had three catches for 33 yards in 2010.
• #28 Mike Kerr (HB, 6-1, 202, 4th - Michael A. Riffel HS) - Had 5½ tackles and 1½ tackles for loss against Calgary ... has 26½ tackles and an interception this season.
• #29 Daniel Knaus (DB, 5-8, 160, 3rd - Sheldon-Williams Collegiate) - Started the final seven Canada West games and the team's postseason game at cornerback ... suffered an injury in training camp and is questionable for the Week 1 game against UBC.
• #32 Adrian Charles (RB, 5-9, 189, 5th - Saskatoon Hilltops) - Named a first-team All-Canadian last season after setting a Rams single-season record with 972 rushing yards ... switched jersey number this season from #33 to #32 ... averaged 122 rushing yards per game in 2010.
• #35 Austin Bates (LB, 6-2, 210, 3rd - Sheldon-Williams Collegiate) - Recorded 19½ tackles last season ... played for the U of R's basketball team during the 2008-09 campaign.
• #41 Jorgen Hus (LB, 6-1, 213, 3rd - Saskatoon Hilltops) - Served as the team's long snapper last season and added nine total tackles.
• #43 Chris Sciog (OLB, 6-0, 225, 4th - Kelliher HS) - Started every game for the Rams last season at outside linebacker and finished third in the conference with 43 total tackles ... also had 2½ sacks, 7½ tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
• #45 Logan Brooks (DE, 6-4, 235, 3rd - Regina Thunder) - Started every game at rush end for the Rams last season ... had 18½ tackles and was second on the team with 3½ sacks.
• #62 Ryan Wellman (DL, 6-6, 235, 2nd - Vancouver Island Raiders) - Back at the U of R after a season of junior football ... started every game for the Rams at defensive end as a first-year player during the 2009 campaign.
• #68 Benton Gieni (DT, 6-3, 285, 4th - Unity Composite HS) - Started every game at nose tackle for the Rams in 2010 and recorded 16½ tackles and two sacks.
• #81 Brenden Owens (SB, 6-1, 192, 5th - Archbishop M.C. O'Neill HS) - Attended training camp with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats earlier this summer ... was a second-team All-Canadian last season after finishing second in the conference in receptions, receiving yards, and TD catches.
• #90 Stefan Charles (DE, 6-5, 302, 4th - Big Kahuna Rams) - Started at defensive tackle for the Rams last season, recording 15 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in his first season at the U of R ... also had 6½ tackles for loss.
• #99 Akiem Hicks (DT, 6-5, 300, 4th - Sacramento City College) - Named a Canada West all-star following a 2010 season in which he recorded 12 solo tackles and 17 assisted tackles ... also had four tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, and registered 1½ sacks.