Jim Popp’s patience is now being tested.
Mere days after he takes over the head coaching duties for the Montreal Alouettes, he faces his first major obstacle. Not during a game, but on the practice field in Montreal’s East End.
Jamel Richardson now joins Scott Flory and Scooter Berry on the sidelines for the remainder of the season, tearing his ACL and LCL ligaments. Being one of the most potent threats offensively and one of Anthony Calvillo’s preferred targets, Richardson’s presence will be sorely missed.
Coupled with the shoulder injury of Brandon Whitaker (originally out 3-4 weeks, now day-to-day), tomorrow’s game versus the Argonauts will be a trial by fire for the Alouettes’ GM. Yes, he’s been there before, dealing with numerous injuries to vaunted stars.
But where he shines is in his ability to substitute stars for other potential stars. If there’s a sense of panic within Popp, we’ll never know of it.
The biggest beneficiary of this injury to Richardson will be a talented young man who’s not had a chance to shine like he should have. Eric Deslauriers has been on this Alouettes squad for several years now and has always been visible, but not an integral part of the Alouettes offense.
The Gatineau, QC native has worked hard every year to be at the top of his game, but is often overshadowed by guys like Richardson and S.J. Green. With J-Rich on the sidelines, I expect to see Deslauriers used more as a short-yardage reciever, where he excels despite his height giving him a decided advantage.
That would leave Arland Bruce as the deep threat that he excels at being, while Green and Brandon London would be the defacto playmakers stretching the secondary. For at least one game, Calvillo won’t have Whitaker as short-yardage receiver to dump off to but Deslauriers can eat up yards even in 2nd and long scenarios if given the chance.
If not Deslauriers, then Tyron Carrier, Noel Devine or Yousef Pierre will be rotated in to serve as offensive weapons. But Deslauriers now has an opportunity to really stand out and would be wise to do so, as a certain GM in Ottawa (himself a former part of the Alouettes organization) will surely be taking note.
I do like Deslauriers a lot as a fan, but Montreal can’t protect every single one of their non-imports in the upcoming expansion draft. Not to mention that the opportunity to have Deslauriers as a French-speaking ambassador for the Outaouais region of Ottawa would be ideal for the newest CFL franchise.
But enough fantasy planning for a future scenario that may or may not even happen. What matters now is re-establishing the winning formula that Montreal fans have come to expect from this team.
The Alouettes Fan Train is back for 2013!
What started in 1997 as a simple excursion has blossomed into one of the premier fan events of the football season. And on October 26th, the train will be heading to a new destination.
Once again, it’ll be to see the Hamilton Tiger-Cats play. But unlike in years past, it won’t be at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Rather, it’ll be at the Ticats’ temporary digs at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium. So this will be your only chance to see the Alouettes play Hamilton in a small, cozy facility.
It begs the question, can a stadium that only holds 13,000 accommodate a bunch of rowdy Alouettes fans? Sadly, the answer is has to be yes. Many of the Tiger-Cat faithful have not been making the trek to Guelph, which is a good 45 minute drive from downtown Hamilton. As a result, I think the TiCats embraced the opportunity to have some guaranteed behinds in those seats.
Thankfully this relocation is only for one season as Ivor Wynne is undergoing a massive refurbishing, set to re-open for the 2014 season as Tim Hortons Field. Let’s hope for their sake Hamiltonians don’t suffer the same fate that the people of Winnipeg did with delays to the opening of Investors Group Field.
So take full advantage of this once in a lifetime event and book your spot on this fan train now. Saskatchewan fans were out in full force a couple of weeks ago in Guelph and their support for the Roughriders was loud and proud. Join the Alouettes on this voyage and make your voices heard. For more info on this trip, click here.
That’s all for now. The Birds of Prey are well-rested and prepared for a rocking match tomorrow against the defending Grey Cup champions. Be sure to follow along on Twitter for live tweets and last minute goings-on.
And if you attend the tailgate, bring along stuff to share. Best way to make new friends!
GO ALS GO!!!
About the Author
Written by Clifford Pine
Montreal born & bred, lover of sports. Passionate about the Montreal Alouettes. Also a great cook & not too bad a dancer.