Guelph Gryphons’ defensive coordinator Adam Grandy is looking forward to another football weekend of learning.
Grandy is the special teams coordinator and a defensive assistant coach on the Team Ontario under-18 squad under head coach Glen Mills, an assistant coach with the Western Mustangs.
The team’s annual Red vs. Black weekend is this weekend at Alumni Stadium. It’s the final selection camp for the provincial team.
“The good thing is that we know the players that we’re working with,” Grandy said.
“We’ve picked the top 90 players in Ontario that came out to the tryouts and we drafted a team a couple of weeks ago.”
The 90 players were split into two teams for this weekend’s sessions. They’ll go through practices and film sessions leading to Sunday’s Red vs. Black game. It’s set for 1 p.m.
“For me, it’s making sure all the special teams’ depth charts are correct,” Grandy said.
“That’s a big part of the deal making sure we have the right people lined up in order to play a game which can be difficult when it’s 90 players.”
It’s Grandy’s second year as the provincial team’s special teams coordinator and he’ll also be on the Black team’s coaching staff this weekend. For the weekend, the provincial team’s seven coaches will be joined by 21 assistant coaches including Brian Cluff and Matt Nesbitt of the Gryphons.
While the weekend is ultimately to pick the provincial team, it also gives the coaches a chance to learn from their peers as every coach at the tryouts is connected to an OUA team.
“It’s a great staff that the (Ontario Football Alliance) has assembled,” Grandy said. “At the end of the day it’s a good opportunity to coach with a younger generation that’s coming up through the recruiting process and at the same time there are a lot of outstanding assistant coaches that are brought in from all the other universities that help aid with the weekend as well. It’s a great football weekend and I’m excited for it.”
For Grandy, his time with the provincial team gives him the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of another coordinating position, the one Bill Brown holds with the Gryphons.
“It’s a different spot, but I remember last year after the first game I texted coach Brown and said I have a new appreciation for what you do on game day,” Grandy said. “It’s a different spot and you have to be dialed in because you have to be aware of injuries both on the offence and defence. There are some aspects of it that I can take and apply to what we do on the defence, but it’s still kind of a different animal so to speak with coaching special teams as opposed to coaching defence.”
The players won’t be burdened with a lot of complicated schemes this weekend as it’s all about the players showing what they can bring to the team.
“We don’t want to overload them with schemes, especially on special teams. We want to take the best football players that can ultimately help on special teams.
In order to be as prepared as possible before the start of the weekend, Grandy reached out to the players that will be in attendance.
“I’ve been in contact with all the players and sent them an email that says ‘What have you played and what do you feel comfortable playing, what special teams can I put you on?’
This weekend also gives all the coaches in attendance a chance to see the players that will be in the recruiting class for the 2018 season.
Of the 52 recruits who have committed to the Gryphons for the upcoming season, six were at last year’s Red vs. Black weekend –defensive backs Ben Lack and Kosi Onyeka, running back Ryan Isenor, offensive lineman Andy McFalls, defensive lineman Sandor Mod and linebacker Justin Jelacic.
Top players from this weekend will play for Ontario in the Canada Cup tournament at Wolfville, N.S., in July.