UBC Thunderbirds' linebacker Ryan Baker has his focus set on the U SPORTS' No. 2-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday night in Saskatoon. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2022. All Rights Reserved)
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From offence to defence, UBC’s Ryan Baker now the ‘tackle maker’ … Thunderbirds’ linebacker records 13 tackles in opening win! No. 9 ‘Birds at No. 2 Sask Huskies on Friday!

VANCOUVER — Ryan Baker came to UBC four years ago with a football resume seemingly as vast as the geographic dimensions of the school’s sprawling Point Grey campus.Now, five seasons into a gridiron career punctuated by not only the pandemic, but by a switch from one side of the ball to the other, the prowess […]

UBC quarterback Garrett Rooker is equally at home these days with both the Canadian and U.S. versions of the game. (Photo by Don Voaklander property of U of Alberta athletics 2021. All rights reserved)
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UBC Football 2022: The ‘Canadianization’ of ‘Birds Texas-born quarterback Garrett Rooker takes flight! Reigning CW Rookie of the Year leads Blue-&-Gold into Saturday opener vs. visiting Alberta!

VANCOUVER — If you’re a fan of B.C. football, I am sure you’ll agree that the summer of 2022 has been blessed by a thick coating of something best described as quarterback karma… the likes of which we have never seen.Of course, you can start with the previously unthinkable: Canadians Nathan Rourke and Michael O’Connor […]

UBC's young defence, including (left to right) Emmanuel Traore, Ryan Baker and Eric Dika-Balotoken attempt to close the gap on Saskatchewan running back Adam Machart on Saturday in the Hardy Cup semifinal at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon. (Photo by Josh Schaefer property of Saskatchewan Huskies athletics/GetMyPhoto.ca2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Gutted by playoff loss to Huskies, Birds’ coach Nill won’t skip steps that turns young team’s cache of promise & talent into its fully-realized potential!

The 2021 Canada West football season revealed a level of promise within the ranks of the UBC Thunderbirds that is darn near impossible to ignore.Yet in the immediate aftermath of a season-ending 39-17 loss Saturday afternoon in the Canada West’s Hardy Cup semifinals to the host Saskatchewan Huskies, ‘Birds head coach Blake Nill wasn’t about […]

Not a whole lot went right for the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday during a lopsided loss to the host Calgary Dinos, yet rookie running back Dane Kapler announced himself as a force, rushing for 161 yards on just 11 carries. (Photo by David Moll property of Calgary Dinos athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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Playoffs hang in the balance! After horrific start in Calgary dooms ‘Birds in 53-14 loss, UBC needs a home finale win vs. Alberta, and likely a little help!

It didn’t take too long to reason on Saturday that the same youthful UBC Thunderbirds football team which had so convincingly flipped the fortunes of its 2021 Canada West campaign over a rags-to-riches two-week span, was perhaps suffering from a kind of collective swoon, the kind most commonly associated with too rapid a rise in […]

Already the leader in U SPORTS passing three weeks into his rookie campaign, the canvas is still blank and filled with potential for UBC Thunderbirds' quarterback Garrett Rooker. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC-Mantoba Football Notebook 10.21.21 edition: The skinny on rookie QB Rooker, the return of Gavin Cobb, ‘Birds rising WR Robert Lutman & much more!

VANCOUVER — Fans of UBC Thunderbirds football have delighted in the potentially season-changing fourth-quarter of last Saturday’s rally from 23-0 down to beat the Regina Rams on the road 31-30 in overtime and move to 1-2 on the season.Yet this week’s Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) visitor to Thunderbird Stadium, the No. 4-ranked Manitoba Bisons, showed […]

UBC rookie quarterback Garrett Rooker knows his team has to get off to quicker starts on offence as the Thunderbirds' Canada West season is set to hit its midway mark in its next game, Oct. 16 on the road against the Regina Rams (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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After red-zone & special teams struggles add up to home-opening loss to Huskies, UBC coach Nill resolute: “I am not ready to give up on the season, it’s a baptism by fire!”

VANCOUVER — On Friday, the calendar turned to October as the UBC Thunderbirds kicked off one of their latest home-openers on record.Yet in the aftermath of a 43-15 loss to the visiting, No. 9-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies before a sell-out crowd of 2,500 at the stadium, just the team’s second game of a shortened six-game Canada […]

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill knows that the Saskatchewan Huskies will bring an old-school mentality to the 'Birds home opener on Friday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC football home-opener 2021: Young ‘Birds to get physical test from Sask. Huskies, says coach Nill: “They’re a tough, old-school program that plays the game like it’s the 50s, 60s and 70’s”

VANCOUVER — The more you play the Saskatchewan Huskies, the more things stay the same.That tweak on a classic cliche was so apropos this week, because when Varsity Letters chatted mid-week with UBC Thunderbirds’ veteran head coach Blake Nill, you could almost feel the need to check your figurative chin strap.Looking ahead to the ‘Birds […]

Prized UBC quarterback recruit Garrett Rooker eyes the scene downfield during throwing drills at UBC's 2021 fall training camp at Thunderbird Stadium. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Postmarked ‘Texas’, Garrett Rooker emerges from ‘Birds deep talent pool to be named starting quarterback ahead of Saturday’s opener at Alberta!

VANCOUVER — Sometimes, stuff happens that makes you want to thank your lucky stars.For UBC Thunderbirds head football coach Blake Nill, one of those days was May 8 of 2020.“Some days are better than others,” wrote Nill that day on his official Twitter account in announcing that quarterback Garrett Rooker, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback out […]

UBC freshman receiver Jason Soriano spent the lost 2020 season honing his skills as a full-time pass-catcher for the Birds. Now, the ex-Vancouver College star is part of three-man receiving core head coach Blake Nill has nicknamed The Smurfs. Soriano digs in on a route during a fall camp session last week. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Thunderbirds’ head coach Blake Nill dubs his diminutive, speedy receiver trio of Soriano, Phillips, Williams as ‘The Smurfs’ ahead of Saturday opener at Alberta!

VANCOUVER — As children of the 2000’s, you couldn’t blame a certain trio of UBC Thunderbirds’ receivers for being a little perplexed last week when head coach Blake Nill announced during a team gathering that he had discovered their perfect nickname.“I have these three guys who are all around 5-10 and they have burners,” explained […]

Seeing the forest through the football trees of the UBC offensive line, freshman running back Dane Kapler celebrates a big-picture focus which has brought him to Vancouver to both carry the pigskin and major in forestry. Oh yeah, he's also keeping an eye on dad Gabe's San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC’s Dane Kapler: How the ‘Birds freshman running back and son of San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler found the vision to blaze a football path to Vancouver!

VANCOUVER — Dane Kapler has always been able to see the forest for the trees.In an allegorical sense, there he was Tuesday, the UBC freshman running back and forestry major taking a hand-off at the team’s fall camp and bursting through a seam from behind the Thunderbirds’ thick-stumped offensive line.And, of course, in a twist […]