The eighth in a series of eleven teleconference calls, the Montreal Alouettes answered questions from media across the country and discussed their goals and expectations for the 2005 CFL season.
Alouettes President and CEO Larry Smith started the call by announcing that Montreal has set a new season-ticket record with 17,200 sold, the most in the modern history of the club.
A new record that aims at showing how support keeps on increasing, while in fact, it was made possible by the Alouettes transforming into season tickets 200 seats that could not be sold as such last year. But hey, in Montreal like in any other CFL city, strong season tickets sales are rejoicing news.
The waiting list still contains approximately 2,000 names and the Alouettes are moving forward with Phase 2 of expansion at Percival Molson Stadium.
Which, based on the upgrades of the last years, should make the number of total seats grow from 20 004, to about 20 016.
Smith indicated that there would be an announcement in late June regarding plans and costs associated with the project. He also note that they have renewed nine major sponsors, including Molson as well as reached more than 50,000 students through their school and community initiatives.
Reaching thousands of students sure seems like a weird tactic at first, but when you put it in the same sentence where you said you re-signed Molson as a sponsor, the pieces come together. Students means strong beer sales.
With 28 players staying in Montreal over the offseason, there were more than 700 visits by players, coaches and other personnel.
at one anothers place. Unless our great media forgot to inform us about any Alouettes activities this winter.
Vice President of Football Operations, Jim Popp, followed Smiths comments with by mentioning the improvements that have been made to Olympic Stadium in preparation for training camp and the importance of securing almost the entire 2004 coaching staff for the 2005 season.
Improvements to Olympic Stadium? Man, theyre wasting their money on the wrong stadium. Does that mean they intend on spending more time in the Big Owe?
Head Coach Don Matthews applauded the work of Jim Popp
and he was pretty much alone to do so this off-season
in supplying the Alouettes with talent
The sum of pluses and minuses dont add up to an increase in talent in my book nor in the book of any Als fan I spoke too recently. I guess Matthews really meant Â« in supplying the Alouettes with runners Â».
and his ongoing efforts to upgrade personnel even with the losses during the offseason. Matthews highlighted the effort to maintain the ratio on the secondary, with the loss of Davis Sanchez, a Canadian DB, affecting the balance.
Look how carefully selected were his words : Â« Matthews highlighted the effort to maintain the ratio on the secondary Â» As good as this statement may sound when said really fast, it really doesnt mean a thing at all. The ratio itself is no measurement for talent.
He said they will now have the free safety as the Canadian position, with the speedy Richard Karikari being trained for that spot. In addition, Patrick Dorvelus will also be competing for a spot with draft pick Matthieu Proulx.
Message to other teams QB : You want to pit your experience against the rookies? Throw deep.
Matthews then went on to list a plethora of players that he expects will have an impact this year, including Reggie Durden, Almondo Curry and Darrel Crutchfield, noting that they have the veterans up front that they need, and the type of offence that they can program plays that utilize the individual skills of their players.
The question and answer session touched on several topics, including the funding of Molson Stadium Phase 2, the physical condition of Michael Jenkins, a backup for Anthony Calvillo and Popps approach to the offseason.
MOLSON STADIUM PHASE 2When asked where funding was coming from for Phase 2 of the Molson Stadium project, Smith acknowledged that a lot of pre-work is being done and they have not made requests for funding public yet. He expects that there will be a combination of private and public sector money involved to help build a long-term facility for Montreal sports.
Â« he expects that there will be a combination of private and public sector money involved Â». Good. Now someone tell me. What else could it be? Money that grows on trees? I guess the appropriate translation of Smiths phrase is Â« WE wont pay for phase two. And we havent asked anyone for cash yet. So the stadiums improvement is pretty much just a public relation stint aimed at showing how we care at improving the fans experience. Â»
Maybe improvements are becoming less necessary if they fill the stadium with Molson-drunk students?
I guess we can kiss goodbye those 14 extra seats.
MICHAEL JENKINSPopp noted that Jenkins ankle was operated on by the same physician who performed surgery on Terrell Owens of the NFL.
What Popp forgot to mention, however, was that the severity of Owen injury had absolutely nothing to do with that of Jenkins. And that these guys dont necessarily heal the same way either. But who really cares about such details. They saw the same doctor, so this must be good.
Jenkins underwent 30-40 minutes of testing and was not in winded condition. Popp also mentioned that Jenkins has spent two months getting himself set and ready and expects him to be 100 per cent for the start of the season. Matthews also mentioned that there are a few schemes where Jenkins can be used
Quite gladly, considering how inappropriate it is to hire a guy who cant do it at all.
and that only a few years ago, Montreal tagged him as the top back in the League that wasnt on their team. Matthews expects Jenkins to have 15-18 carries a game.
ANTHONY CALVILLOS BACKUPMatthews confirmed that Ted White still is has the No. 2 QB spot on the Alouettes with the No. 3 spot up for grabs at training camp.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Lets hope White tries to get that Â« up for grab Â» 3rd spot.
When asked if the injury to Calvillo in the East Division Championship exposed the lack of experience for Ted White, Matthews noted that White had field time in 2004. If we get a big enough lead, our backup QB will play, said Matthews. We will not jeopardize a game to give a backup QB experience.
In Matthews language, this means Â« If we lead the Renegades by 56 points with less than three minutes to play, White MIGHT play. Â»
OFFSEASON GRADE?Popp didnt grade himself on his offseason moves, but emphasized that he is always working ahead by a year. His moves in 2004 affected 2005, and his moves in 2005 will affect 2006.
Hey Popp, you want any of us to take care of that grade?