The UBC Thunderbirds first return to Calgary as 2015 Vanier Cup champions is pretty much guaranteed to stoke the flames of discontent with Dinos’ fans.
Of course, it was former Calgary head coach Blake Nill, who left last season to assume the head coaching position at UBC before eventually leading his new team past his old one — 34-26 in the Canada West’s Hardy Cup championship final — on the way to a national title.
“That is what it’s going to be like but we have to stay focused,” said Nill of the cold reception his team will receive Friday when the two teams square off at 4:30 p.m. “I think Calgary learned their lesson last year, worrying too much about kicking my butt and realizing I don’t play the game. I sit on the sideline. I’m not the guy that is throwing touchdown passes or catching them.”
What does Nill expect from the opposition?
“I think you will see a more focused Calgary group there,” he said. “It’s a different team. The coaching staff has had a year to install their philosophical approach. And their staff is very good. They’re smart men and I am sure they realize ‘OK, it’s time to play football again.’ That type of culture we had from the 2015 year with me leaving the program needs to move on.”
Photo: UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill celebrates Vanier Cup title with Taylor Loffler. (UBC athletics photo) Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS