Dinos footballers can’t find the elusive win

By Jon Roe

The University of Calgary Dinos football team may be 1-2 after three weeks of play, but, if such a thing is possible, it’s a good 1-2.

The team started the season with a 52-14 obliteration of the hapless Simon Fraser University Clan, but dropped their last two games. However, those two losses came against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, ranked second in the nation and, most recently, the University of Manitoba Bisons, currently ranked fourth.

“You cannot be satisfied with the end result,” said Dinos head coach Blake Nill. “It’s not what you strive for as a coach or as a program. [But] I’ve always said I prefer to play the best teams, win or lose, because that’s how you get better. I think we’ve gotten better the last two weeks doing this.”

The Bisons beat the Dinos in Winnipeg, 35-28, after the Dinos led 21-18 at the start of the fourth quarter Sat., Sep. 15. The Dinos surrendered 17 points in the final 15 minutes, the second straight game the Dinos dropped a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Dinos also failed to get a passing touchdown for the second game in a row. First-year Dinos quarterback Jordan Flagel completed six of 15 passes for 98 yards against the Bisons.

Though the troubles of the passing game are a concern for Nill–the Dinos currently are last in the league in passing offence–he notes the Dinos are still recovering from losing both of their experienced QBs during the pre-season.

Casey Brown, a third-year import from the U.S., tore his ACL in an exhibition game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Ben Davies, a backup quarterback last year was unhappy with the Dinos’ situation at quarterback and left. Last year’s starter, Dalin Tollestrup, left the team in the summer to go on a two-year mission for his church.

“We’re playing the guy who gives us the best chance to win,” said Nill. “The other kid is just a raw 18-year-old. He’s working hard, but it’s never entered my mind to change the quarterbacks.”

Though he hasn’t thrown a passing touchdown since the destruction of the Clan in the first week, Flagel doesn’t mind taking a smaller role in the Dinos’ offence as long as the team is getting touchdowns on the ground.

“All I want, in the end, is to win,” said Flagel, who has attempted about 44 passes this year, about half the total of every other team’s starting quarterback in Canada West. “As long as we move the ball in some way and score, that’s fine.”

Time is on the Dinos’ side. The team doesn’t play until Sep. 29 and there are still five games left in the season to make up the ground lost in the last two weeks. The hated Bears from the north are first up on the Dinos plate, and though they haven’t won a game yet, the Dinos aren’t taking them lightly. Nill is using the time off to prepare and to rest his sore players.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are banged up and this week is a good week for them to rest a few days,” said Nill, hopefully. “Overall, we want to come out of the week having accomplished something, even if it’s just something little. You don’t want to take a step back.”


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