Coach Faulds’ 2022 football outlook
It’s that time of the year again when we all move back to school and catch up with our roommates, friends, and colleagues about how our summers were. Maybe you’re moving into a new house or apartment off campus. Or maybe you’re starting out here at Laurier living in residence.
Whether you’re a first-year student who knows absolutely nothing about Laurier, or a
fourth-year about to start your final year, there’s an air of excitement in the air that can be associated with the start of a new football season here at Laurier.
There is a lot to cheer for this past year as the Golden Hawks try to soar above the competition and compete to take the championship.
“It was great to have a training camp in August this year since we haven’t had one since 2019. This year, with less restrictions with a full OUA schedule, both players and coaches seem to be excited.” Michael Faulds, head coach of the football team, said.
“The expectation is that we get better every week. When we were in the Yates cup in 2016-17, we were truly playing our best football at the end of the season. We want to constantly improve throughout the season. You see some teams peaking in week 2 or 7. We gotta be at our best in late October early November.”
His philosophy makes sense when looking at former champions. For example, the Super Bowl Champions, the LA Rams, this previous season were arguably playing their best football.
Alternatively, take a look at the 2019 NBA Champs, the Toronto Raptors. They finished the regular season not ranked as the highest team in the NBA and finishing second in their conference.
They then went into the Eastern Conference Finals without home-court advantage and still moved on to win the whole thing. When you have a healthy team at the end of the season who have experience under their belt, they know inherently how to win the championship.
This team is fueled with young talent coming into the program this year. For starters, Faulds has appointed Sophomore Quarter Back Taylor Elgersma to replace Conner Curasello.
“He went out and earned the keys to the starting role from us. He is a great leader, passionate about football, liked by both players and coaches, and also the most hard-working player on the team,” Faulds said.
Elgersma seems to bring the energy and fire that this team needs to surpass his best football skills later on in the season.
“He feels that he has a lot of playmakers so he knows he doesn’t have to do too much, instead be a great facilitator as he is.”
“Everything is surrounded by Taylor. Around him we have returning veteran receivers like Nick Peterman but we’re also looking for EJ Jordan or Tyriq Quayson to really step up. Our offensive line is one of the biggest that I’ve had in my time at Laurier, so I think we’ll be a lot better to run the football as well.”
“We got a stable of running backs that can add to our rushing totals every week,” Faulds said on the entire offensive staff coming in this season. In coaches’ words, “We don’t rebuild, we reload.”
There is plenty of depth in both running backs and wide receivers that will always be ready to perform at their best when their number is called.
“It was tough to have a culture during the COVID years. Being accountable and looking out for each other is the philosophy now in person. We have team captains but we have a leadership group of 10-15 players. They are eyes and ears from the coaching staff to the hundred players on the team. I ask them to not be afraid to call people out and lead by example,” Faulds, said.
“We’re doing this because we want to be the best version of ourselves and win football games. We are always meeting to get the locker room feels and so we can stay ahead of issues that might arise.”
This strategy shows how communication is key between players and coaches here at Laurier. Faulds is trying to encourage a welcoming culture where players can express what they think should be changed. In addition, he encourages them to analyze what they could do better in certain aspects of the game. This is something that is led by Faulds to increase morale and team spirit.
Defensively, this team has a lot of veteran leadership accompanied by new team players. The departures of the cornerbacks may look disappointing on paper, but it’s next man up for the Golden Hawks.
“With our defence we are never rebuilding. We always have guys chomping and ready for the opportunity. We are going to be super solid, super-fast, and linebackers with incredible speed. It will be a dangerous group and one of the most dangerous groups in the conference for sure.”
Players like Ife Onyemenam can lead this defence after a promising sophomore season. He recorded 20 solo tackles and had one sack.
Coach Faulds is someone who brings a community spirit to Laurier. He is not only here to coach and win football games – he’s someone who builds a strong relationship and connection with each player out on the roster. He is the person who leads the charge of shaping a community that Laurier athletics strives for.