WATERLOO, Ont. (August 23, 2013) - After a wave of change passed over the Wilfrid Laurier University football program following the 2012 season, the new era for the Golden Hawks is set to get underway this Sunday as the Hawks hit the road to face the Guelph Gryphons.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium in Guelph and the game can be heard live on Radio Laurier
. The game will also be webcast on GryphonTV
Following a tough 3-5 season that saw the team struggle offensively, head coach Gary Jeffries stepped down and former York Lions offensive coordinator Michael Faulds
was brought in to fill the void. Faulds, the CIS all-time passing leader, immediately promised that the Hawks offence would improve thanks to the implementation of a pro-style, no-huddle system.
Following his hiring, Faulds, associate head coach RON VANMOERKERKE
and recruiting coordinator Dwayne Cameron
got to work and brought in a class of 48 freshmen to join the Golden Hawks in 2013. Included in that group were a number of high-profile players including receiver Marcus Arkarakas
of North York, Ont., defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng
of Milton, Ont., defensive back William Pitt-Doe of Mississauga, Ont., and offensive lineman Edward Cadougan
of Toronto, Ont.
With only 10 days to prepare for their season opening game, the Hawks were put through the paces by the coaching staff from the very outset of camp, implementing Faulds' new vision for the team. Offensively, both Julien John
of Oakville, Ont., and James Fracas
of Waterloo, Ont., were given the majority of snaps during practices but it was John who earned the starting job out of camp. The 6-6 pivot will be making his first career start for Laurier against the Gryphons after being a redshirt over his first two seasons.
John will have a number of weapons on offence that he will be able to rely upon. In the passing game, 6-4 receiver Greg Nyhof
of Georgetown, Ont., will be a primary target as well as returning veterans Kelvin Muamba
of Mississauga, Ont., Scott Campbell
of Cambridge, Ont., and Isaac Dell
of Niagara Falls, Ont. In the run game, 2013 East West Bowl participant Tyrrel Wilson
of Hamilton, leads a strong group that includes returners Dillon Campbell
of Whitby, Ont., Eric Guiltinan
of London, Ont., and rookie Chucks Okafor
of Calgary, Alta.
Defensively, the purple and gold appear to have a very strong defensive line on their hands. The group is anchored by Ese Mrabure-Ajufo
of Mississauga, Ont., and Asante Mizan
of Brooklyn, N.Y., who combined to record seven sacks in 2012, and will be joined in the trenches by Thomas Griffiths of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Warren Gilmore
After being hit hard by graduation, the linebacking group will be young but the transition by Chris Ackie
of Cambridge, Ont., from safety to linebacker should help ease the loss of veterans Mitchell Bosch and Drew Galpin. In the secondary, fifth year senior Felix Odum
of Pickering, Ont., will be relied upon to lead another young group of defensive players.
Faulds and his team will have a tough task on their hands for their season opener as they face a Gryphons squad that made it to the Yates Cup last year before bowing out to the McMaster Maraduers. However, the Hawks will look to the effort they put in against Guelph last season when the team lost by just three points, 22-19, on Homecoming at University Stadium. The loss was just Laurier's 14th all-time to Guelph as the Golden Hawks easily hold the historical margin at 41 wins to 14 losses.