Football: an exciting new challenge

Football: an exciting new challenge


There is often excitement that accompanies newness. It's true for the Alouettes who are going through a period of renewal for the 2023 season, but it's also true for me as I have the privilege of joining the Journal as a football columnist. 

This new challenge makes me happy and gives me energy. I can't wait to share with you, very humbly, what the athletes in the Canadian Football League are going through. I just want it to be alive as reading.

I personally played 10 seasons in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders. Having lived this sporting career away from Montreal has sometimes been a bit difficult for me to accept.

That being said, I was a young, dashing and full of energy boy at that time, from 2003 to 2012, and I'm honest enough to say that maybe it was a good thing not to play with the Alouettes. It would no doubt have been difficult for me to resist the distractions of Montreal.

Marc Calixte

Worried about the defensive unit

After my playing career, I worked briefly with Noel Thorpe, as a assistant defensive coach for the Alouettes in 2013. I learned a lot about analytical work and I hope you will benefit from it as much as possible.

Thorpe, current defensive coordinator in Montreal, offers a system with many nuances. I won't hide from you that it's the Alouettes' defensive unit that worries me the most in view of the start of the season. I was especially worried about the defensive line during training camp, but Israel Antwine, who is a revelation, comes to reassure me a little.

However, if the Alouettes were to lose certain important elements in due to injuries during the season, there is the lack of depth that worries me.

Offensively, the club has plenty of options, with Cody Fajardo being a mobile quarterback. He has the support of William Stanback, but he can also run as a running back himself.

Player Commitment

I cannot end this first column without telling you about special teams. This facet of the game is so important in the Canadian Football League, whether it's when it comes to getting the ball back or clearing as far as possible. In a low-scoring game, you can see about twenty clearances in a game.

An important word in head coach Jason Maas' speech is “commitment”. This is essential for the whole team, but often the special teams are a reflection of the cohesion within the group. It is necessary that everyone is involved to be on the same wavelength.

I prefer not to mention a particular name for this first column, but I can tell you that I have already seen athletes on special teams avoid sacrificing themselves for the team.

When the coaches decide you have the athletic ability to do the job, you have to go for it, not spare yourself for keep your energies, for example, for your role as a pass receiver…

Sometimes there are players who, with their ego, also have plans in mind for the future, still dreaming of the NFL . They want to avoid injuries. However, the commitment of everyone is necessary to win. Maas does well to hammer home this point.

– Interview by Benoît Rioux