Behie behind potent Mac offense

December 1, 2011
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brian Decker

Executive Editor


Perhaps no team would be more suited to play in an overtime shootout for the Vanier Cup than the McMaster Marauders.

Armed with an MVP wide receiver, an All-Canadian field goal kicker, a talented group of slotbacks, a powerful running back and a quarterback who had permanently entered Beast Mode, the Marauders had a bevy of weapons to march 35 yards into the end zone more times than their opponent could match.

That, and a diverse playbook devised by a man many have described as a football genius behind the scenes.

Observers of this year’s Mac team will no doubt be familiar with offensive coordinator Jon Behie’s arsenal of jet sweeps, behind-the-back handoffs and other tricky plays that have led many to herald the former player as an offensive mastermind.

Behie, a man who considers himself a Marauder lifer and a “McMaster football historian,” credits the skills of his players for the offence’s success rather than his own creativity and influence. But with aerial precision demonstrated by Kyle Quinlan and co. last Friday, it’s clear Behie’s fingerprints are all over the blueprint Mac used to cause utter destruction to the vaunted Laval defence.

The Marauders threw for 496 yards and gained nearly 700 for the game, moving the ball against Laval seemingly more successfully than any team this decade. The variation in playcalling, especially with Quinlan’s powerful arm,

“The pass game has always been my thing. Moving guys around, it’s like a chess match. It’s been fun to draw it up.

Since the turn of the century, Behie has been heavily involved in McMaster football, first as a recruit and fan, then as a quarterback and receiver and now as the offensive coordinator of the most potent offence in the CIS this year.

“I went to every game starting in 2000. This is the only place I applied and I wanted to be here,” says Behie. “I immersed myself in it and I just haven’t left.”

The Burlington native says his passion for offensive innovation has been around since the first time he ever picked up a football, and that he always had an eye on helping to direct a team.

“I remember drawing up plays and talking with coaches in high school,” says Behie. “I’ve wanted to coach for as long as I can remember, and I can remember in my first, second and third year wanting to get into coaching and teaching.

“It was kind of ‘right place, right time’ and the circumstances were lucky that they are what they are here at Mac.”

Behie says playing quarterback and receiver from 2002 to 2006 for McMaster helped foster his creativity for the passing game, something that has flourished with Quinlan, Mike DiCroce and the other talented players in the receiving corps making plays.

“The pass game has always been my thing. Moving guys around, it’s like a chess match. It’s been fun to draw it up.”

Behie is right to send credit for the Vanier win towards Quinlan, whose astonishing performance led him to call his the fourth-year pivot the best to ever play for McMaster.

“What he did was unbelievable. He couldn’t have done anything more; statistically; ‘wow’ factor; winning. It was all there.”

But his own brand of creative offence and his dedication to the team’s development has also been an integral part of McMaster’s rise to becoming the king of Canadian university football.

“It’s always about the program. It’s never been about one year’s team. And that’s why I do this every day and care so deeply about it,” says Behie.

Four days after the victory over Laval, the Vanier Cup sat in Behie’s office, but the drive to win another one was clearly already on his mind. He was heading off with head coach Stefan Ptaszek to scout recruits at the Metro Bowl in Toronto.

For Behie, the process of accomplishing what the Marauders did in 2011 again in 2012 is already underway.

“We’ll do everything we can to try to get another another Yates, another Uteck and another Vanier,” he says. “Hopefully we don’t have to wait 47 years


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