The University of Regina Rams say they are looking forward to the challenge, as they prepare to play the University of Calgary Dinos in their season opener on Friday.
Ranked fifth in Canada according to the U Sports pre-season poll, the Dinos should be a good test for the Rams, allowing them to see where they stack up in Canada West Football.
The Rams are coming off a 32-27 pre-season win over the University of Manitoba Bisons on Aug. 22 and although it’s not the regular season, Bryce said he saw a lot of good things from his team.
“I think our team speed has improved over last year, our usual suspects of talent performed very well for the period of time we kept them in and some of our younger guys really grabbed our attention,” Bryce said.
Despite the team losing two of their best defensive players in Nicholas Dheilly and Nick Cross – both of whom joined the BCFC Okanagan Sun – Bryce said his focus isn’t on last year’s team.
“We have a next-man-up mentality. We got a great locker room full of very talented players and we can’t focus on players who choose to go somewhere else. We have to focus on the ones who want to be here and want to be Rams,” Bryce said.
One player who will be back this season is quarterback Noah Picton, who’s emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the country.
The Regina native enters the year as Canada West’s all-time leader in career passing yards with 9,840 and 720 career completions.
He only needs 160 more passing yards to become the sixth player in U Sports history to hit the 10,000-yard mark.
“I’m excited to see what he can do this year. He’s an outstanding talent with a great mind in football and a very bright kid overall,” Bryce said.
“He spent some time with the Toronto Argonauts in camp this year and I can’t wait to see how that helps develop his game.”
Rams play at Mosaic Stadium at 7 p.m.