Adam Gallant hits stride in second year with Tigers.
Adam Gallant didn’t take the conventional path to becoming competitive in the Atlantic Football League (AFL). But if the Tigers’ season opening 31-25 victory against the UNB Red Bombers is any indication, the traditional path shouldn’t always be the most sought after.
At nine years old, the second year running back from Summerside, P.E.I. was diagnosed with hearing loss. As a result, hearing aids in both ears became part of his life. But on the field, the hearing aids come off, and Gallant is forced to communicate with quarterback Matt Shannon and the coaching staff differently than other running backs in the league.
“It’s just something you’ve got to deal with,” he said. “Matt and our other quarterback Nick Hunsley are really good with it. They have to look at me when they talk because if they don’t I’m not going to hear it.”
Gallant said there are times his hearing issue can be a detriment, but it’s never been anything too serious.
“On a really windy day when the wind goes past the ear holes, it can be really loud. But it just means I need to have that much more communication with the quarterback.”
Regardless of the setback, Gallant has proven himself as an elite running back in the AFL, scoring the season opening touchdown for the Tigers against the Red Bombers.
“It was the first one I scored for Dal so it was really exciting. I didn’t think I was going to get it because they ran the same play twice and I didn’t get in on the first play, so I was happy it worked out.”
In his second year as a Tiger, Gallant has seen the team making improvements constantly.
“It’s a lot more serious this year and everything is much more intense,” he said. “For example, during training this year we had two meetings a day and we never would have thought of that last year.
Gallant attributes the different caliber of play to the coaching style of new head coach Al Wetmore.
“[Wetmore] puts a lot more emphasis on winning which is good by me,” said Gallant. “Right now it can be exhausting, but I know it’s going to pay off later on in the season.”
In the Tigers’ opening game against the Red Bombers, the squad made numerous mistakes on both sides of the ball. Despite this, Gallant said it should be no indication of the team’s true talent.
“That first game didn’t show our potential,” he said. “Getting the jitters out of the way was a big issue for us and a lot of people were uneasy. But we’ve had some classroom time to go over some film and fix some of the mistakes. Our run game is looking like it will explode, which is good for me, and the receivers are looking as good as ever.”
The Tigers improved to 2-0 over the weekend, beating UNB Saint John 28-13.