Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Alouettes starting ex-NFLer Smith at QB

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MONTREAL -- The Montreal Alouettes' starting quarterback carousel will pick up another rider to begin a back-to-back set against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Troy Smith will become Montreal's fourth starter at the position this season when the Alouettes host Hamilton today at Percival-Molson Stadium.

Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner in his senior year with Ohio State, signed a two-year deal with Montreal on Aug. 14. Five days later, three-time CFL Most Outstanding Player winner Anthony Calvillo suffered what proved to be a season-ending concussion.

Josh Neiswander and Tanner Marsh have started for the Alouettes since the CFL's all-time passing leader went down. Smith, who made his Montreal debut on Sept. 15, has appeared in five games.

"There's no question when (Smith) first came up here it was to take it very slowly and we didn't know if he would get on the field," Alouettes GM and coach Jim Popp said on Friday. "But with the injuries that have mounted at that position and he was thrown in there and had to learn more and to be in position to play, he's gotten more and more comfortable, he's more ready to go.

"We're very comfortable with him, and though he may not know 100 per cent of the playbook, I'm not sure if any of our quarterbacks know 100 per cent of our playbook right now."

Popp confirmed after practice Friday that Calvillo would not return this season.

Smith appeared in 14 games with Baltimore in his first three NFL seasons and six more with San Francisco in 2010, when he went 3-2 as a starter.

The 49ers did not re-sign him when he became a free agent. Smith, who spent the following season with Omaha of the United Football League, is looking forward to getting the start.

"It definitely feels good but you have to keep it in consideration, some things that you work hard for, you definitely have to understand that the hard work is just to get there, it does not stop once you've achieved some of the things that you want, so I have to keep plugging away and keep working."

The Alouettes fell to 6-9 after losing at home to Winnipeg for the second time this season on Monday.

Smith takes over for Neiswander, who was intercepted three times in the 34-27 loss to the Blue Bombers.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 20, 2013 B4

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