Call it what you like, boom or bust, make or break.
Either way, 2018 is an important season for the Okanagan Sun.
No more excuses says head coach Ben Macauley.
He says the team is going to do everything it can to win.
“We’re going to do it the right way, but we’re not going to hold anything back. We’ll say what we think and do what we feel will put us in the best position,” said Macauley.
He says the goal is to compete at the highest level.
“Our community, our city, our board, our supporters, our sponsors, expect us to take this next step.
“We’re investing a lot of time, money and energy into this season, and it’s not a pass or fail, but we do expect to have a high level of success. There’s not going to be a pass we’ve been given the last few years based on injuries or our newness to the program.”
A lot of that investment has come in recruiting players the team believes can take them to the next level.
Two of those, quarterback Jakob Loucks and defensive end Nicholas Dheilly, are among the top recruits in the country.
“Not to take anything away from the rest of our class, but these two guys are kind of our marquee guys and are established. They have not just played, but been quite successful at the top level of amateur sport in Canada.”
Loucks comes to the Sun after two seasons as a starter with the Mount Allison Mounties. He was U-Sports rookie of the year in 2016.
Dheilly, who comes to the Sun from the University of Regina Rams, was named the team’s defensive player of the year last season and was a Canada West all-star.
While those two head a strong recruiting class, Macauley says he believes the biggest improvement this season will come along the offensive line.
“We think we have the depth there now to compete well into October. Last year we were moving guys from defence to offensive and doing it with patchwork.
“Not to say those guys didn’t do a great job of adapting, but this year we will have some of the best offensive linemen in the country.”
Macauley says the line should be anchored by 6-foot-7, 325-pound Daniel Townsend from the University of Calgary.
“He’s a true university starter, and that makes a big difference.”