Varsity Blues football undergoing culture change under new head coach Darrell Adams

Darrell Adams' impact at U of T is already being felt.

Darrell Adams is focused on building a new culture and championship mentality as head coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. (Photo: Sylva Akpowowo/ Centennial College) 

TORONTO – The University of Toronto football program is hoping for an exceptional turnaround under the leadership of new head coach Darrell Adams.

Adams was appointed the 27th coach in program history in January after the Varsity Blues parted ways with Greg Marshall in November. The former NFL and CFL defensive tackle is eager to get to work and start building a foundation of success.

“I’m really feeling excited about what the future holds,” Adams told the Toronto Observer on Friday. “I’m blessed and privileged to be the head coach of University Toronto. It still feels a little unreal, to be honest, it’s happening so fast from meeting with all 85 returning players to over 100 alumni thus far. The first two months has been absolutely electric.”

The Jamaica, New York, native will have his work cut out for him. The Varsity Blues went 2-6 last season and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Prior to making it to the postseason for consecutive years in 2021 and 2022, Toronto had missed the playoffs in 20 straight seasons.

“We don’t we live in the past. We don’t talk about that, we’re worried about the present, and the present only,” Adams said. “We’re going to work together one day at a time keeping that championship mentality. That’s our goal, right? We’re not trying to do anything other than win a championship. So we’re doing those steps towards it every single day.”

Hoping to be the catalyst of change, Adams’ approach is to instill a winning mentality and shape the mindset, culture and attitude of players to foster a collective determination.

Several returning players are hyped about the arrival of coach Adams and are all in on the philosophy and methods he has brought to the school.

“There’s is a huge change in our practice format,” said senior defensive back Owen Cassie. “One day we are wearing helmet and shoulders pads, next day we are just wearing helmet and the day after that we wear a full kit, including our lowers. I think that just allows us to get use to practice at different intensities and not necessarily letting us beat our bodies the whole time and also emphasizing the practice pace without just hitting each other.”

Balancing academics and athletics can be a challenge for student-athletes, as players must possess strong time management abilities to cope with rigorous training and academic obligations.

“School is a priority, especially here at University of Toronto, the No. 1 academic school in all of Canada, so we have to make sure we support these guys holistically,” Adams said. “Make school a priority at all times and teaching them how to manage their time and that they planned their schedule accordingly to be able to accommodate their academic needs.”

The Varsity Blues will kick off a new era in August under coach Adams with only one goal in mind.

“Winning the championship is our goal for the upcoming season,” said Cassie.

About this article

Posted: Mar 10 2024 4:51 pm
Filed under: Football Sports