PREVIEW: France’s Elite 2015 – Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône Cougars

Saturday, February 7th Elite American football is back in France. This is part of a series of previews to learn more about the top teams of the FFFA, Fédération Française de Football Américain, and better understand the challenges of this new season. This preview comes courtesy of VoxStadium and Marion Santiago and has been translated by AFI.

Today, we learn about the Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône Cougars, who still dream to win their first Casque de Diamant in their history.

Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône Cougars

The next weekend, the Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône Cougars of open their sixteenth consecutive season in the Elite. A feat for which you can thank head coach Xavier Mas. “With the Flash La Courneuve, we are the only two clubs in the top division since 2000.” Unfortunately, the comparison with the Flash will stop at this point. The Flash has reaped seven league titles in France, the Cougars have not had the opportunity to even play in a final in six seasons.

Cruel.

Nevertheless, Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône has reached near the top of the table. Three times the Cougars managed to climb into the semi-finals (2001, 2006 and 2010). A performance that Xavier Mas team came close to repeating last season.

Setting Goals

In 2014 in fifth place overall, the Cougars just missed the playoffs. They can find some respite in what they showed against Casque de Diamant favorites. Their victory against the Flash La Courneuve (39-24), semifinalist, and encouraging defeat against two-time defending champions, the Thonon Black Panthers. The Cougars site this as proof that nothing is impossible, particularly with the Cougars explosive offense. “Last year, our offense was very successful averaging of over 40 points per game,” said Xavier Mas. “The defensive side of the ball was rather deficient, and therefore do not allow us to achieve the goals we set, namely to qualify for the semifinals,” admits Mas.

The troops of Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône 2015 motives are more elevated than ever this year,”We had ​​a rather average season, but our ambitions remain intact. The objective will be to try to play this final is not enough for us. Why not try to win the title! ”

Defense lost

10311791_10152160031772842_4761999618801067844_nTo do this, the club of Val-d’Oise took advantage of the off-season to make some adjustments in their workforce. The top priority was to improve the quality of it’s defense and Xavier Mas ensured the return of Walter Gomes (NT/OG) after two years of absence. “This year we recovered some former Cougars players who left the team for personal or professional reasons, and will particularly strengthen the areas we are struggling a bit.”

Walter Gomes, 30, will be a real reinforcement for Cougars. His versatility strengthens both sides of the line. Also note the Gomes was invited to this past weekend’s mini-camp with Team France, who are preparing for the 2015 IFAF World Championships, which will take place this summer in Canton, Ohio in United States.

Also on the defensive side of the ball the Cougars bring in new raw recruits such as Mehdi Touati, from Saint-Denis Monarchs (D3). A linebacker, Touati has won several league titles in France with Flash De La Courneuve and now brings his experience to the Cougars.

Imports: (Almost) the Same Again

Following the departure of James Skelton (LB) and Patrick Witt (QB), the Cougars have decided to recruit American at those same positions. However, it will not be easy to forget Patrick Witt in Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône, as his 2014 season was quite exceptional. The former Yale University quarterback broke all Elite records last year passing for a total of 3,190 yards and 37 touchdowns, this includes 10 touchdowns in a single match. In short, Witt is high-performance player leaving the Cougars, but his replacement is also likely to make some heads turn.

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Price and Willman have been in France since October

A new high-caliber QB comes to the black and gold. Tanner Price, 23, comes from Wake Forest University (D1, NCAA) threw for 8,899 yards for 52 touchdowns during his four seasons in the ACC. Price will be joined by Tim Willman. A linebacker, Willman has a great senior year at UConn (D1, NCAA), and went to NFL rookie camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars last spring.

These two reinforcements are promising good prospects Xavier Mas’s team, and have been working with the full team since October.  Mas said, “It costs us a little more money than other clubs who don’t bring their imports in until January, but for us it is important that everyone works together. Especially as our QB is also the offensive coordinator of the team .” Tanner Price, in addition to leading the attack of the Cougars, has been working for several months on offensive systems that he has set up with his new teammates.

This head-start should prove to be of real value for the team, whose season begins Saturday, February 7th at p.m. CET and face the Templiers d’Elancourt.

Profile of the Cougars on Europlayers.com : http://www.europlayers.com/Profile/9742

Source: www.voxstadium.fr

Marion Santiago
Journaliste sur @PokerStars Sports Club / Rédactrice Foot US, NBA, Football @VoxStadium
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