By Alexander Cole
Stingers quarterback Trenton Miller took the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) by storm last year in his rookie season. Miller broke Stingers records, led the team to the playoffs and won the Réseau du sport étudiant de Québec (RSEQ) MVP award. This year, Miller is ready to continue that success.
“The goal this year for everyone is to win the Vanier Cup,” Miller said. “Our motto is to go 1-0 every week and get it done that way. We see ourselves winning a championship.”
Last year, the Stingers finished with a record of 4-4, which included two wins against McGill and two wins against Bishops. In eight games, Miller threw for 2,384 yards and 20 touchdowns, which is a Stingers record. In addition to Miller’s 20 passing touchdowns, he also had three rushing touchdowns.
Thanks to Miller’s play, the Stingers lead the RSEQ division in passing offense, while Miller led all RSEQ quarterbacks in scoring.
Miller said that he is ready to build on the success of last year, however, he added that the team needs to beat Montreal and Laval if they want to win the Vanier Cup.
“Montreal is a team we have to beat if we want to get to the final,” Miller said. “When we lost to Montreal last year, it was because of a few unlucky bounces. They made it to the Vanier Cup last year, so we feel like we are close.”
Miller continued by saying that he hopes Concordia will “reclaim” Montreal when it comes to football.
Miller also said that the entire team, as well as the coaching staff and management. have come together in the off-season and generated a lot of excitement amongst each other.
“There has never been a more optimistic season in my career,” Miller said. “At the team golf tournament, donors were all very excited to get started and we could feel that energy. It’s a very exciting time to be with the Stingers.”
At the beginning of the season, Miller was not the starter, however, by the second game, he had won himself the position. Miller came to the Stingers from the United States, which has different rules when it comes to football. For example, Canadian football uses three downs instead of four, while also using a bigger ball and a bigger field. Miller said it took some time gettng used to the new style of play before settling in as a starter.
“[Canadian rules were] definitely a change I had to deal with,” Miller said. “It took me four to five weeks to get used to it all.”
For Miller, playing a year with the team and proving himself as a leader has helped him gain his teammates’ confidence. Miller said that having the support of his squad is a huge confidence boost and he can’t wait to get on the field to build on the success of last year. Miller feels like he will fit in nicely with the team, as he has gained a lot of respect since last season.
Despite breaking the Stingers touchdown record and getting the RSEQ MVP nod, Miller remains humble. According to Miller, it is his team and his one-of-a-kind offensive line that has allowed him to excel as a quarterback.
“I’ve never seen such an incredible offensive line since Division 1 [National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)],” Miller said. “These guys are crazy good and I think that they can easily build a legacy for themselves here.”
Miller added, with the addition of some new recruits to the program, the offensive line has gotten even stronger.
“They’re tough, they’re mean and they’re a powerhouse,” Miller said.
Apart from Miller’s high praise for his teammates and his desire to beat teams like the Université de Montréal Carabins, the Buffalo, N.Y. native is mostly looking forward to his first game of the season. On Sept. 2, the Stingers will be traveling to Percival Molson Stadium to take on their crosstown rivals, the McGill Redmen.
The Stingers beat the Redmen twice last season, including a 43-41 last-minute victory that launched the Stingers into the playoffs. Miller is excited to play the long-time rival, but is hesitant to even say the word “McGill”.
“I’ve been having dreams of beating [McGill] for the last two weeks,” Miller said. “I can’t wait to get into that first game. We want to win that game badly.”
The first game against McGill is also the Shaughnessy Cup, which will be Miller and his teammates’ first chance of making an impression on the RSEQ division. The last time the Stingers and the Redmen played each other in the Shaughnessy Cup, the Stingers won 43-41.