While all players can’t wait for the start of the RSEQ season, Laval University Rouge et Or attacking player Nicolas Genest has another reason to get excited.
Genest has been out through injury and a transfer since October 17, 2021 and will finally play his first game on Friday when the Rouge et Or start their season at Sherbrooke after a nearly two-year wait.
“I’ve waited a long time for this moment and in 2021 I launched the Rouge et Or Centre, sporting the colors of the University of Sherbrooke’s Vert & Or. I injured my shoulder in my last game against Vert & Or in Laval and had to be sidelined for a year in case of a transfer, as per the regulations. It’s boring not playing for a year, but I still have four seasons to go.
Coming out of the collegiate ranks, Genest vacillated between the Rouge et Or and the Vert & Or before settling on Mathieu Lecompte’s company.
“Those were two excellent decisions and I chose Sherbrooke because of the university and my academic choices,” he said. A year later, my priorities had changed. I wanted to be closer to my family and football took over. Laval has always been on my mind. As for my return to Sherbrooke, of course it’s the team I know best, but it’s a game like any other.”
A position that needs to be filled
Genest’s entry into the scene comes at just the right time for Rouge et Or, whose two centers Nicolas Guay and Nicolas Thibodeau have graduated from university. Assigned to CNDF as a security guard during his student days, a native of Mont St-Hilaire, he discovered a new position.
“Even though I didn’t play in 2022, I trained as a center in anticipation of the change that was to come. The two Nicolas helped me a lot last year by sharing their experiences with me. I still speak to them when I have questions. It’s two different positions and I’m learning something, but it’s going well.
Genest and Étienne Cloutier fight for the starting place. A relief to Guay and Thibodeau, who were on the sidelines, Cloutier had performed very well last year at the Sherbrooke game.
Used as a blocker with the Limoilou Titans, Cloutier is now developing into a center in the same position as his father Jacques, who wore the Rouge et Or colors from 1995-1999. Like his father, he also wears the number 65.
The guard house on the right is also present. Alexandre Masri-Fliss, who competed several times last year, is also in the running, as is rookie Simon Roy. Roy, Bol d’Or champion with the Limoilou Titans, was dubbed by his head coach Dave Parent as the best guard in the program’s history and the most consistent offensive lineman.
Despite the departure of two fifth-graders, Glen Constantin is confident the offense will be up to the task. “The Collebien offensive line and we have yet to determine our depth. We will be able to control the ball. We’ll be able to play the ball just as well as last year, if not better.”