Volume 92, Issue 18

Friday, October 2, 1998

homing in


SPORTS
 

Dunbrack sacks Argos



Photo by John Sokolowski


By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Over the four years Roger Dunbrack wore the purple and white jersey of the Western Mustangs' his dedication and hard work ethic was never questioned.

Now with the Toronto Argonauts, many expect the defensive end's sheer ability and love of football to catapult him into Canadian Football League stardom.

The soft-spoken Dunbrack, who was selected in the second round (12th overall), by the Argos in the off-season college draft, said he was simply excited to be drafted into the pro game.

"I had a tough evaluation camp before the draft and things didn't look too good," Dunbrack said. "I originally didn't think I was even going to get drafted. When the call came from Toronto I was excited that I was going to get a chance to continue my career."

The six-foot-four 239-pound defensive end, has seen the field occasionally on defence and special teams with the Argos but is aware of his rookie role with the team.

"I have no control over the decisions of the coaching staff," Dunbrack said. "It is a different league than the CIAU and it is my time to start trying to work my way up the ladder again. Hopefully things will work out."

Looking at the differences between the two Canadian games, Dunbrack feels the biggest variance has been the increased speed of the pro game.

Dunbrack's illustrious Mustang career included being named an all-Canadian in 1996 and 1997 as well as the recipient of the J.P. Metras Trophy in 1997, awarded to the league's outstanding lineman. However, Dunbrack, described by Mustang head coach Larry Haylor as being driven by a "team-focussed" attitude, puts all his personal achievements aside in pointing to the pinnacle of his university career.

"Winning the Vanier Cup in 1994 in my rookie year was incredible," Dunbrack said. "Any chance to play for a national championship is a great opportunity."

According to Haylor, it was Dunbrack's incredible ability and uncanniness to stay healthy which made the ex-Mustang a main cog in the Western defence.

"His work ethic on and off the field is incredible," Haylor said. "For four years he never missed a practice or got injured. He is always in incredible shape – obvious by having only two per cent body fat."

It is these attributes which Haylor feels will allow Dunbrack to excel in the CFL.

"Pro football is a business," Haylor said. "If he didn't have a professional level of ability he wouldn't be there. I use Roger now as a model of the ideal player.

"If he's as committed with the Argos as he was with us he will almost definitely be a success."

According to Haylor, who has produced a number of CFL and National Football League players over his career as coach, having a teammate succeed at the pro game is a great motivator.

"When guys make it to the professional level it reflects very positively on the school's program," Haylor said. "We take a lot of pride in our program and it's great when guys are able to do it."

With his brother Kevin in his second season with the Mustangs, Dunbrack says he still keeps close ties with his alma mater.

"I miss playing for Western. I made some great friendships while with the Mustangs which was probably the best part of playing."



Geoff Robins/Gazette


THE MOOSE IS LOOSE. Roger Dunbrack back in his playing days with Western was a terror on the field, leaving a wake of battered and bruised opponents.


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Copyright The Gazette 1998