Offensive lineman Spencer Swan is back and couldn’t be happier about it.
“It feels great,” Swan said after a training camp workout. “It’s tough, but this is all the kind of stuff that I miss -- and it’s worth it in the end, all the hard work you put in.”
Guelph native Swan took a break from football and the Gryphons after his first year with the team, but discovered he really missed both the sport and the team.
“I thought I was just done with football,” he said. “I thought I wasn’t really enjoying it too much. I was leaving my options to come back, but I didn’t know if I would. Just throughout that whole year, I missed it the whole time and I decided that it was best if I do come back.”
During his year away, the 6-foot-5, 302-pound bachelor of bio-resource management student focused on his schoolwork and joined an outdoor adventure club on campus. But the feeling that he was missing something didn’t go away and Swan decided he didn’t want to have that feeling much longer so decided it was time to return.
“I did talk to the coach and asked him what the process would be like,” he said. “I just went in and explained the situation and explained that I was committed.”
Now he’s back on the field, trying to get back into football shape.
“There’s a difference between being in shape and being in football shape,” he said. “It’s just getting that part down and getting used to hitting people again after a year of not doing it. That’s a big part. There’s a lot of technique stuff and little things that just need some time.”
Although he wasn’t with the team anymore, he did keep working out periodically during his time away.
“This summer I came back with Jordan (Foley, the Gryphons’ former strength and conditioning coach) up there in the weight room. I tried to get to as many of those as I could and get myself into shape.”
Now it’s also a matter of working on the mental aspect of the game.
“I’ve just got to make sure that mentally I know my assignments because that’s a big part of it,” he said. “You have it mentally, you can move faster on the field. I think a big part of it, too, is just footwork and being more physical. That’s kind of what you lose when you take a year off.”
With almost everything that’s done on-field during the workouts videotaped, anything you do wrong is seen. One of Swan’s first on-field sessions back wasn’t a particularly good one and he had to endure watching it with his teammates.
“I was getting roasted pretty bad,” he said. “That was motivation for today.
“Overnight you’re thinking ‘I don’t want that to happen again.’ That’s kind of the motivation. While you’re there you just have to take it and say ‘Yeah, I understand.’ And take notes on what they’re saying.”
Usually he walks out of the film sessions with about a page of notes.
“I have three full pages of notes.”
The Gryphons are to play the St. Francis Xavier X-Men and Mount Allison Mounties in preseason action at Antigonish, N.S., Saturday. They’ll play two quarters against StFX and two against the Mount Allison in StFX’s Summer Showdown. The X-Men will also play two quarters against the Mounties.
The Gryphons are to open their regular season with a 1 p.m. game at Alumni Stadium Aug. 27 against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.