Receiver Zeph Fraser got the result he wanted when he was hoping that being reunited with Gryphon offensive coordinator Jean Francois Joncas would lead to good things.
A transfer from the Laurier Golden Hawks who last played in the OUA in 2015, Fraser was named the league’s offensive player of the week for his performance in Monday night’s game against the Western Mustangs.
“We came out as a team,” he said. “We had a good week of practice. I played good, but so did the quarterback (James Roberts) as well and the O line played good as a team.”
Fraser grabbed eight passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but the Gryphs lost in overtime and he felt that took away from the weekly honour.
“We came out, dominated, but didn’t come out with the win,” he said. “It was a tough loss, but we’re regrouping and coming out stronger this weekend. We’re looking to get that W.”
The Gryphs are actually Fraser’s fourth team in four years. He played at Champlain College-Lennoxville in Quebec in 2014 when Joncas was the head coach there. Then he played at Laurier in 2015 and with the Canadian Junior Football League’s Ontario Football Conference champion Hamilton Hurricanes last year.
“Four teams in four years, this is the last stop,” Fraser said.
At Hamilton he had 47 receptions for 832 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games.
“To be honest, I’d say the CJFL and the game speed we had with a couple of CFL guys – I played with John Rush – the game speed was a little bit slower than over here, but I feel it was kind of the same thing. I have the same goals over here. I just have to execute them.”
He had two catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in six games with Laurier in 2015.
Being with four teams in four years means Fraser has had to learn four play books in that time, too.
“I find it’s pretty simple because JF is the OC and I played with him at Champlain where he was my head coach,” Fraser said. “The terminology is the same and everything. Some of the plays I’m familiar with because they were at Champlain as well. It’s a good transition. I like it over here.
“It’s everything I expected. It’s a hard-working team, I couldn’t ask for anything more. The coaches are on the same page as the players. We want to win a Vanier (Cup as U Sports champions) -- not only a Yates (Cup as OUA champs), but we want to take it to the full thing, Vanier.”
To get ready for the season, Fraser worked out with his trainer Jesse Korona at Target Training in Mississauga where he had two sessions a day, five days a week. He also attended the weekly captains’ players workouts at Alumni Stadium during the off-season.
“That got me ready, too -- in the play book and I know my assignments. I was familiar with the players and everything.”
Almost 22, Fraser is one of the older Gryphons and he rooms with defensive lineman Alain Cimankinda, a former teammate at Champlain who was OUA defensive player of the week for his game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the season opener.
“We have the same goals and the same expectations – to come out here and win.”
This week Fraser and all the other Gryphon players had to add the schooling to their schedule as classes started Thursday. He’s studying sociology.
“It is kind of tough,” he said of combining the schoolwork with football. “You just have to make a schedule and pretty much have the same commitment as football. You have to make your schedule and say, hey, I’m going to work on it from 12 to 2 or whatever. And then you have to say you’re going to work on sociology and in 30 minutes you’re going to work on, say anthro, and so on. You have to be on top of your game just as you do in football.”
Fraser’s arrival means the Gryphons continue with two receiving Frasers on the team. He’s no relation to third-year Gryphon receiver and Guelph native Aidan Fraser or former Gryphon receiver A’dre Fraser who finished his fifth season with the Gryphons last year.
“I did work out with A’dre at Target Training,” Zeph said. “Everyone thinks that we’re related and everyone says that we look alike, that we’re twins or something.”
Following two losses in overtime, the Gryphons will be looking to break into the win column Saturday when they host the Windsor Lancers at Alumni Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m.
“(We have to) dominate, know our assignment and execute every single play,” Fraser said.