Gryphon linebacker Riley Baines was thrilled to be back in an OUA football game and it showed in opening-game win over the Toronto Varsity Blues.“Even my first play. my legs were shaking,” he said following Wednesday’s practice at Alumni Stadium. “I sat out all of last year because I was academically ineligible and I honestly couldn’t believe it when I stepped on the field.”Baines was the Gryphon defensive player of the week for his performance as he had four tackles, two for losses totalling 10 yards including one for a safety in the fourth quarter, a sack and a breakup when he leaped to knock down an attempted pass at the line of scrimmage.That performance was a bit of a reward for the work he put in last year to regain his academic eligibility.“On top of work and my job and staying with the team as well, it was a lot of work, but I stuck with it,” Baines said.And it’s something he vows he’ll stick with this year. To play a university sport, a student has to successfully complete a minimum of three full courses during an academic year.“I can’t get behind, which I did,” he said. “Last year was just adversity and as much as facing adversity makes me stronger, I don’t want to put myself in that situation again.”With that goal in mind, the fourth-year Gryphon stayed in Guelph during the off season.“This off season was the one off season I stayed in Guelph,” he said. “I took three summer courses this year and I stayed working out with the team instead of going back home to Ottawa.”The Gryphons (1-0) are getting ready to face the Windsor Lancers (0-1) in Windsor Labour Day. The Lancers are coming off a 78-6 loss to the Western Mustangs. While Windsor suffered a one-sided loss in its opener, the Gryphons won’t take them lightly as their 41-22 win over Toronto wasn’t as encouraging as it should have been.“We definitely did not play with the expectations that we had,” Baines said. “We’ve got to go into Windsor and treat it like it’s a championship game. We need to be our best. Obviously we’ll not be perfect, but we have to learn from our mistakes last game which were a lot.”While the Gryphons get a couple of extra days to get ready for a Monday game this week, that will be lost next week when there won’t be any days off in getting ready to host the Queen’s Gaels Sept. 10 at Alumni Stadium. Queen’s has the bye this week. However, the Gryphons aren’t looking that far ahead.“It’s all about just getting ready for Monday and coming in fast and coming in hot. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s a learning process,” Baines said. “It’s all about getting ready for the next game. We’ll take it one day at a time.”For Baines, he’s hoping the jitters he experienced at the beginning of the Toronto game won’t be there in Windsor and he figures knowing his job on the field inside and out will help accomplish that.“It’s all about getting prepared and putting myself into a situation where I know everything so I’m not nervous and I’m not worrying about not knowing my assignment or something like that,” he said.The 2015 Yates Cup win is now long in the past for the Gryphons and this year’s team is different than the OUA championship-winning team. But there is an air of confidence around the group.“Last year’s team, we lost players like Curtis Newton and players like John Rush on defence specifically and some guys on offence, but honestly coming into this training camp, I think this is the most intensity we’ve ever had coming into a year,” Baines said. “I could just feel the energy in the air and I think we’re ready. That’s all I can say.”Monday’s game in Windsor is to start at 1 p.m.