AUS Playoff Picture is Set

After week 7 the AUS, the playoff picture is pretty much set. The AUS Semi Final will be played in Antigonish between Acadia and St. FX, the winner of that game will be heading to Halifax to take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in the Loney Bowl.

Once again, Bishop’s and Mount Allison are left on the sidelines to watch the playoffs. This is Bishop’s second year in the AUS Conference and for all kinds of reasons this conference is challenging for them.

Mount A not challenging for a playoff spot is more concerning though, with the talent on their roster in consideration. Players like Aiden O’Neal, Josh Hicks, Malikue Richards, Chris Reid, Keil Ambursley, and of course the veteran QB Troy Downton, these guys were primed to build on the momentum left by QB Jacob Loucks and Head Coach Scott Brady.

First year head coach Peter Fraser failed to put together an offence to show off these player’s abilities, averaging only 21 points 7 weeks of the season. In October, when the Mounties should be making their playoff run, they only put up pathetic scores of 16 versus Saint Mary’s, and 11 against Acadia. Their week 8 game against St. FX is completely meaningless. Fraser’s players fail to put up points when it matters most, and play very undisciplined football filled with countless procedure penalties, and dead ball fouls throughout the games. It doesn’t help matters that most of the players just mentioned are about to graduate.

When you look at the Mounties Coaching Staff, there is at least a familiar face in Gaetan Richard. He is still the offensive coordinator and he has had success in this program under other head coaches. So why exactly are the Mountie fans enduring such a lack in 2018 production?!?

Have the players and coaches actually bought into the Fraser’s game plans and coaching philosophies? Here is an interesting stat… Coach Fraser has taken 9 Team Safeties in 2018! At times these safeties have been taken while giving up the leads to his opponents. Does he not trust his defence? Or does he just trust his offence to put points on the board? Sorry but I’m not sure which is harder to believe. He is a very animated coach on the field and can be found challenging game officials at numerous times throughout the game… I’m starting to wonder why.

When you look at the 3 teams entering into playoffs you have the Huskies, lead by James Colzie, one of the most passionate coaches in the AUS. This guy holds his players and coaches accountable for every play during a game, while pacing the sidelines, engaged in numerous discussions with his staff. He is always making sure his players know their responsibilities on every play.

St. FX is lead by Gary Waterman, who is the ultimate professional on the sidelines. He is working with a team of coaches that are all on the same page week in, week out. And the players have a solid connection with Coach Waterman and will definitely put everything on the line for their coach every week.

Acadia’s coach Jeff Cummings is a force on the sidelines himself, and can often be seen challenging, and encouraging his players throughout the game. His players are very self disciplined on the field and fully on board with the game plan each week.

Football is often recognized as a sport where solid Coaching is paramount. That said, only 3 teams heading to the AUS playoffs have that clearly figured out. Only time will tell if Coach Fraser was the right hire for the Mounties.

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