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 […]

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 […]

Saskatchewan Huskies' Nelson Lokombo (left), the former W.J. Mouat Hawk, and U SPORTS' 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, is being touted among the top players in the upcoming CFL draft. (Photo property of Saskatchewan Huskies athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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W.J. Mouat’s Nelson Lokombo: Why a position switch “switched” his perspective and elevated Saskatchewan Huskies’ star DB in eyes of CFL scouts!

He’d enjoyed a Canadian Football Hall of Fame career along the offensive line of the Montreal Alouettes, and now, a few years after returning to his alma mater to begin a new one along the sidelines, he was being elevated to the role of head coach of the Saskatchewan Huskies.Yet as Scott Flory is the […]

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill feels so much of the team's 2021 identity will stem from the team's play along its trenches. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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VL podast 01.27.21: UBC head football coach Blake Nill on celebrating the tradition of Blue & Gold and the promise of a 2021 fall kick-off!

The UBC football nation, just like all of the other tight-knit, tradition-laden programs across Canada, mourned the loss of 2020 university football season. Thunderbirds’ head coach Blake Nill, however, is excited and hopeful for the prospects of a 2021 campaign… that much is obvious as the three-time Vanier Cup national championship-winning coach joins host Howard […]

Former SFU running back Bo Palmer (left) and former UBC quarterback Billy Greene (right) will not only talk about their best football memories and their lives after the game during a two-part Varsity Letters-The Podcast series set to begin Monday, each will also reflect on playing in the last contested Shrum Bowl back in 2010, and how much the rivalry game needs to come back following the pandemic. (Photos by SFU and UBC athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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VL Podcast series debuts Monday: UBC’s Billy Greene, SFU’s Bo Palmer on Shrum Bowl’s 10-year absence and their own lives in and out of football!

LANGLEY — Plans for the resumption of the best football rivalry game in the province of B.C. were not actively underway when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March.Put it all together, and the fall of 2020 marks the 10th straight season that the Shrum Bowl, that formerly annual crosstown clash between Simon Fraser and UBC, […]

His eyes trained down the field, late Simon Fraser quarterback Bernd Dittrich is captured in an iconic pose. It's now been a decade-plus since the Austrian native passed away at the tender age of 21. His memory lives on through a scholarship endowment fund put in place by the SFU Football Alumni Association. (Photo by Ron Hole property of Simon Fraser athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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Simon Fraser’s Bernd Dittrich: A decade-plus after the iconic quarterback’s passing, a former teammate pays homage to his remarkable spirit and courage

ABBOTSFORD — Mathis Baumbach remembers how he never felt like a stranger in the summer of 2008, even though he had flown halfway around the world from Germany to join his new teammates on the Simon Fraser University football team.And all of that was due to the presence of one of the most iconic athletes […]

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill says a big part of the COVID 19 era in collegiate sports is helping players navigate all the realities of being a student-athlete during these challenging times. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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While smoke-filled air delays UBC football’s first official workout, ‘Birds coach Nill talks a different strategy with players and their families

VANCOUVER — Sitting in his office overlooking Thunderbird Stadium on Tuesday morning, Blake Nill afforded himself a solitary moment to take a deep breath.These days, you can’t take anything for granted.In the midst of the global pandemic, and with its Canada West season already long cancelled, UBC’s veteran head football coach had worked towards Tuesday […]

UBC Thunderbirds' running back Kory Nagata was eulogized this past week by the many he both touched and inspired over his life on and off the football field. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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A Sunday Tribute: For UBC’s Kory Nagata (1996-2020), football was a glorious portal to the possibilities of life

RICHMOND — Finding a perfect state of balance while doing the thing you love the most is powerful enough to change the way you see the world.

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill feels that if given a safe environment with which to play, that 2020 could be the year that the Shrum Bowl returns after a 10 year absence. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Eric Hamber's Luke Lee (left) and Mathis Henderson are the first Griffins recruited to join university football programs since Vancouver's Griffins started their own high school program from scratch back in 2010. (Photos courtesy UBC Football and Eric Hamber Athletics copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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Eric Hamber’s gridiron pioneers! UBC-bound Luke Lee, Bishop’s-bound Mathis Henderson are Griffins’ first-ever university football recruits

VANCOUVER — They have spent the past decade as Vancouver’s only public high school football program, and now, the Eric Hamber Griffins are taking the next step in their gridiron evolution.For the first time since planting roots as a start-up junior varsity program in 2010, followed by a debut senior varsity season in 2011, the […]