The Saint Mary’s Huskies football team has a need for speed.
“We’re a grind ’em team but we don’t have a whole lot of home run hitters,” said Huskies head coach Steve Sumarah. “We’re out there hitting singles, but no one’s putting that fear into a team that on any play … they can take it in (for a touchdown).”
The Huskies, who were smoked 35-8 by the Calgary Dinos in Saturday’s Mitchell Bowl, have fallen in three straight Canadian Interuniversity Sport semifinals.
Slotback/returner Jahmeek Taylor, whose off-field conduct led to a one-game suspension for the Loney Bowl, won Atlantic University Sport player of the year honours with the type of dynamic, big-play ability Sumarah is seeking.
Taylor is expected to return for a fourth season, but Sumarah said the Huskies need more of that ability at the receiver and running back positions.
Among the Huskies’ key losses next season will be offensive linemen Adam Baboulas, a two-time AUS all-star, and Tom Gibbons, and linebacker Ryan King, an AUS all-star in 2009. The Huskies are also moving ahead under the assumption starting quarterback Micah Brown won’t be back because of CIS’s new “five-in-seven” eligibility rule.
Sumarah will have his hands full replacing Brown, but with a solid recruiting year, he hopes the team can get back to Vanier Cup territory.
The Huskies, who reeled off six straight wins against AUS competition before the Mitchell Bowl, had a young team with 60 of 82 players in their first or second years of eligibility.
Those players have plenty of room for growth.
“We think we’ve done some great recruiting over the past three years,” Sumarah said. “It will be a big step if those guys continue to develop and we bring in some new guys as well.”