Translated Coverage: Q & A with Coach

Here is an exceptional interview with Coach Trestman conducted by one of my favourite French Sports guys in Montreal

Article by Miguel Bujold of LaPresse June 8th. 2009:

Link: ... estman.php

"I don't approach my job the same way as I use to...'

Coach Mark Trestman

Since their heart-wrenching defeat in front of their fans in the Cup Gray, last winter, the Alouettes have accomplished a lot of workb, including ensuring the return of their head coach Marc Trestman, rumors that sent them to Oakland. LaPresse spoke with Coach Trestman, who commented on the rumors and his new coaching philosophy.

Q How was your off season?

The first thing (the owner) Robert Wetenhall told me when I was hired is, "I better not see you in Montreal during the winter". He wanted me to be first and foremost a father and husband during the off season. The opportunity to spend more time with my family convinced me to accept the position in Montreal. So I spent most of the last six months in Raleigh, where I worked on projects. Jim Popp communicated with me when he felt the need and I talked with some of the team leaders about the challenges that lie ahead this season.

Q Do you make decisions player personnel?

While this is Jim responsability. He calls me when he wants to get my opinion about a player, and this role suits me fine. His talent for finding and evaluating players is obvious.

Q It goes without saying that you are more comfortable with the Canadian football in your second season, but to what extent?

A I'm not sure that I will be really at ease. I still have insecurities about the different game situations that could arise. For example, during the last three minutes of play .. Fortunately, I have more experience, but I've never seen anything like it. I try to not become too comfortable. I keep challenging myself, and I want to continue to benefit from the experience of the coaches around me.

Q We see new coaches regularly succeed in their first season, before getting into trouble in the second. How to ensure that this does not happen?

First, the past is never a guarantor of the future. And once there is a newcomer, be it a coach, player, assistant to the equipment, there will always be a change to the chemistry of the group. This will be the first thing he will have to lookout for. For the rest, we continue to teach proper technique, hoping that the players buy in and benefit. The first month's schedule is demanding this season, while seven of our first 10 games are against teams from the West. We face two very good quarterbacks back to back (Ricky Ray and Henry Burris) in our first two games. And I believe this is a very good thing. It will allow us to find our rhythm early in the season.

Q In recent years, the division of the West appears significantly higher than in the East. This is the case, do you?

It's true, but I think the changes that eastern teams make will enable them to continue to reduce the gap with the West division. I I consider that the gap between first place team and the eighth is very small in this league.

Q If you could count on a little more depth at a position this season, which would it be?

While our group of linebackers have done a good job last year, I think there will be a little more competition here, especially with the arrival of Cam Hall. We also had some defensive halfbacks which are talented in man to man, and I think the defensive ends Jermaine McElveen and Rodney Hardeway will make a greater contribution to their second season - without taking anything away from our starters, John Bowman and Anwar Stewart.

Q You are an offense guru, but how hands on are you with the defensive side?

You must know how to juggle when you're a head coach. I am involved enough to know what is going on. I think all the coaches of the team know the essence of the game plan in full. Often, the game plan of the defense or that of the offence may influence those of our other units. I call it football continuity and it is obtained through good communication.

Q The attack was often brilliant in 2008, while the defense has experienced highs and lows. The unit had its best moments during the playoffs, but are you looking for more stability?

Several factors forced us to make a lot of change last year. I think that Tim Burke (defensive coordinator) has done an excellent job. We would like the defense to be a little more consistent this season, but played well enough to allow us to win in the series. The offense did not rise to the occasion, we didn't raise our level of play when it was needed. I think it bodes well for our defense.

Q Rumors like what you had been contacted by the Oakland Raiders were circulated last winter. Were they justified?

I make a point to never comment on rumors, because if I comment on one, all I have to react to all of them. I can tell you that I am dedicated to my team, I like my players and I am entirely devoted. When we win, there are always rumours. Your name is circulating in rumors - and there will always be names that circulate in the rumors, because it is the business. And somewhere, so much the better if my name continues to circulate, it will demonstrate that our entire organization is doing good work.

Q Where would you like to be in five years?

The only thing that is clear to me is that I will be coaching somewhere. I have more energy and passion for football than at any other time in my life - and I have loved the game of football since I was 8 years old. But I don't approach the job the same way as I did four or five years ago. I focus less on my career goals and more on empowering and growing the abilities of people around me. And I have more fun as well. When you are a coach, there is often a propensity to set firm targets, we must do this or that to feel successful. Today I think more about championships and team goals then what is in store for me in the future. I oversee the direction the team needs to take, but my goal is to win the next game, quite simply. When you have've lived the ups and downs, youe come to realize that is all that matters, to win the next game.

Q With the exception of family and football, are there any other passions that your life?

My wife constantly tells me that I don't spend enough time for "me". I'm conditioned to spend all my free time with my family. Music is one of my passions; rap to classical, I like everything. Seal and James Taylor are among my favorite artists. I love writing, and I have been working on two books for three years, one on the specifics of the quarter-back position, the other on the leadership based on lessons that I observed during my career. I read a lot, especially books that talk about physics, for example, right now I am reading "The Fabric of the Cosmos", by Brian Greene. Books that I do not understand too much, really ...

Excelent interview!