Thursday, October 18, 2007


Chatting with coach Denis Piché and star QB Josh Sacobie for a column in today's Ottawa Sun was a good window into the Gee-Gees, not just their tar passer.

The article ended up being about Sacobie, who grew up in First Nations communities in New Brunswick, striving to become a role model for aboriginal issues and becoming more open about his identity. I'm still easing back into the form of news-gathering that actually involves talking with people, so I probably used more of each gentleman's time that I was entitled to. (Hopefully they won't mind.)
  • Since Sacobie has eclipsed Gee-Gees great Phill Côté's school records for TD passes and yards -- in one less season to boot -- it segued into the inevitable comparisons.

    Piché put it best: "Phill was more like Steve Young and Josh is more like Dan Marino -- actually, John Elway is a better fit. Phill would run around quite a bit. Josh stays more in the pocket -- like Elway, he can run if he has to, it's not pretty, but he can."
  • What's striking about Ottawa this season is their discipline. Despite working in new backs, receivers and blockers (tackle Kirk Kirkwood was a big loss that wasn't budgeted for once he was came back from CFL camp), they have lost the ball on fumbles and interceptions an OUA-low 11 times. They are also the OUA's second-least penalized team, a pretty winning combo.

    Sacobie has just four interceptions in 212 attempts -- the lowest rate of any CIS starter -- and he's had just two picks since Week 1. Piché noted, "And he's done with a brand-new set of receivers," noting slotback David Crane is the only returnee from last year's set of starting receivers.

    Sacobie said that stat is a point of pride for him. "The fact we can manage the ball like that says something about our whole team, the linemen blocking for me and our receivers. We've had some outstanding catches."
  • Another difference in the Gee-Gees from '06 to '07, in Sacobie's view, is that they've passed serious fourth-quarter tests the past two weeks against Queen's and Laurier. That didn't happen last season prior to the Mitchell Bowl loss to Saskatchewan. Sacobie led a victory drive to beat Queen's on Oct. 6, and his 45-yard pass to Crane in the final three minutes put away the Golden Hawks in a 12-point win last week.

    "It's like, 'man, we know how to win in the fourth quarter,' " Sacobie said. "We didn’t have that before."
  • The Gee-Gees had the Russ Jackson Award (best combination of academic, athletics and community involvement in CIS football) last season in O-lineman Naim El-Far, which speaks to the character of their team. "We've got a whole team of Joshes," Piché said, adding that the maturation process is "one of the best parts of the business we're in -- it sure isn't the money."

Sacobie champions cause (Ottawa Sun)

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