BURNABY — The Simon Fraser Clan football team will play this weekend in Texas without its regular starting field general in the huddle.
Clan head coach Thomas Ford confirmed Wednesday morning that sophomore quarterback Justin Seiber would not play in the team’s Saturday clash in San Angelo, TX (4 p.m.) against the Angelo State Rams of the Lone Star Collegiate Conference.
On the second of back-to-back sacks late in the first half of last Saturday’s 70-7 loss at Portland State, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore suffered an ankle injury, the full extent of which is not yet known.
Ford said that x-rays confirmed that the ankle was not fractured or broken, but that an MRI to be taken either Wednesday or Thursday would answer important questions regarding the level of accompanying trauma suffered.
Most optimistically, Seiber could be back for the Clan’s Sept. 21 home opener against South Dakota Mines at Swangard Stadium.
Yet the potential is also exists for Seiber to be lost for the season.
“The x-rays came back negative, there was no damage to the tibia and fibula, but they still want to get a closer look at it,” Ford said of Seiber’s scheduled MRI test. “At that point, we’ll know if this is something where he can come back in two weeks. But if he has to miss significant time, say if it’s six-to-eight weeks, then we won’t play him in the last week of the regular season.”
If that were to be the case, Seiber would almost certainly receive an injury-redshirt to preserve 2019, then return in 2020 with his sophomore status in tact.
En route to its 70-7 loss, Simon Fraser trailed Portland State just 14-7 when Seiber was injured just before halftime.
He finished the game a respectable 9-of-23 for 157 yards and one touchdown against no interceptions.
Senior back-up Mihai Lapuste, thrust into extended primetime action for the first time in his collegiate career, went 2-of-7 for 21 yards and an interception the rest of the way.
What happens Saturday in the Clan’s offensive huddle?
Ford said that Lapuste (North Vancouver-Handsworth), freshman Brandon Niksich (Federal Way, Wash.-Todd Beamer), and redshirt freshman Nate Hunt (Surrey-Holy Cross) would comprise the quarterback stable.
Lapuste had come out of fall camp at No. 2 on the depth chart, and thus the coaching staff had already seen him the most amongst the three eligible pivots.
That’s why Niksich, a big-armed 6-foot-5 thrower who played at the 4A level in the North Puget Sound League, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Hunt took the majority of first-team reps at practice Monday.
Just as Hunt redshirted last season, Ford was contemplating doing the same for both Niksich, and Victoria-Mt. Douglas’ Gideone Kremler, the latter not available as he recuperates from off-season surgery.
“They were two huge recruits for us in 2019,” Ford said of Niksich and Kremler. “We were hoping both could redshirt and get familiar with the system, but with Brandon the process may have to be expedited.”
Ford hasn’t yet announced Saturday’s starter, but added that in the case of Seiber not being able to return this season that Clan fans “…could see all three (Lapuste, Niksich, Hunt) play this season.”
The head coach had everything he believed Seiber’s personality to be about confirmed on Monday.
“He is a great teammate and he was in a wheelchair with his guys, helping coach the quarterbacks in practice,” said Ford. “I know he is hurting.”
There was some positive news on the running back front.
The Clan lost starter Mason Glover to what has been diagnosed as a Grade 2 AC joint sprain, and that shoulder injury will keep the 5-foot-9, 200-pound redshirt freshman on the shelf Saturday.
Ford, however, felt there was a good chance Glover would return for the home opener the following Saturday.
“It will be a pain tolerance thing for Mason and he is a tough kid, so I have to protect him from him,” Ford said Wednesday. “He says to me ‘Coach, I am ready,’ but we are keeping him out of contact. You miss a guy like that. So many of the things he does do not show up (in the boxscore), like what he gives you in pass protection, the routes he runs.”
Glover’s childhood friend, 6-foot-1, 180-pound redshirt freshman Solomon Hines, will get a chance to show his speed and elusiveness as he steps into an even larger role Saturday against Angelo State.
Portland State’s suffocating run defence held Hines to just nine yards on 13 carries last Saturday, the only positive rusher on the day for the Clan.
Expect K.C. Kircher, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore from Yuba City, CA., to see an increased role.
As well, 5-foot-10, 180-pound redshirt freshman Lucas Sabau, the former New Westminster Hyacks star, could parlay his solid play at fall camp and practices into the first snaps of his collegiate career.
“Lucas has done some nice things running the ball and he could get some carries,” said Ford. “He’s done some nice things with his vision and with his pad level.”
Angelo State (1-0) is coming off a decisive 45-20 win over the GNAC’s Western Oregon Wolves last Thursday.
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