Varsity Blues go for two in a row

The University of Toronto Blues will try to equal the number of wins they had a year ago when they take on McMaster University Thursday night in Hamilton.

In 2008, U of T won twice and they are coming off their first win of the current season downing the York Yeoman last Saturday 45-27.

“Hopefully repeat of that,” says Greg DeLaval, U. of T. head coach. “All of our wins are big and don’t come all that often. We don’t take anything for granted.”

University of Toronto Varsity Blues look for their second win of the season against the McMaster Mauraders

McMaster is on a high right now after cracking the Canadian university Top 10 rankings for the first time this season. Last week, the Marauders upset the Western Mustangs 42-35 in London, Ont.

“McMaster is coming off a huge win against Western and physically we are challenged to compete, so a lot of things have to go well for us tomorrow,” DeLaval says.

If that wasn’t enough to contend with, the Marauders quarterback, Kyle Quinlan, was named the CIS offensive player of the week.

Playing one of the 10 best programs in the country doesn’t worry the coach.

“I don’t think any of our kids know what their ranking is,” DeLaval says. “All they know is that we are going to be in tough when we step onto the field.

“I don’t think they are going to look at the game any differently.”

The last time Toronto played a ranked opponent was against the Guelph Gryphons on Sept. 18, a game close to the end of the first half before the visitors opened the floodgates.

“That has been the story for us this season,” he says. “We have played well against other teams for a couple of quarters and they seem to pull away on us.”

One of the reasons U. of T. hasn’t been able to stay in games are penalties.

“We are trying to play more disciplined football and play for a full four quarters,” he says.

A good problem DeLaval has faced is his club’s versatility at the quarterback position.

The Blues starter, Andrew Gillis, has been nursing an injury. When he went down that gave backup Jansen Shrubb the chance to show the coach what he can do.

“It’s nice,” DeLaval says. “When Andrew couldn’t get anything going, Jansen seemed to come in and give us a spark, but when Andrew is on, he is on.

“It’s very nice to have two guys who you are very confident in.”

The quarterback tandem keeps the opposing defences guessing.

“They are two totally different style quarterbacks,” he says. “One is very mobile and the other is very much a pocket passer. We are comfortable with either or.”

If tomorrow’s game comes down to one play to decide the game, DeLaval thinks it will come down to special teams.

“A lot of games come down to special [teams],” he says. “Either you make a big play or you give one up.”