CFL

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Quarterbacks Smith, Glenn both looking to improve as Lions visit Alouettes

  • Print

MONTREAL - No one needs to tell Troy Smith he has to play better.

The Heisman Trophy-winner replacing future Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo at quarterback completed fewer than half his passes as the Montreal Alouettes offence fired blanks in its CFL season opener last week in Calgary.

Smith hopes to start clicking with his receivers and moving the ball when the Alouettes (0-1) take on the B.C. Lions (0-1) in a bounce-back game for both teams at Percival Molson Stadium on Friday night.

"It falls on my shoulders as a quarterback," said Smith, who put up only 154 passing yards in a 29-8 loss to the Stampeders. "I have to do a better job of decision-making and distributing the ball.

"We have weapons all over the field, but if we don't protect and get the ball out on time, these weapons mean nothing. So it's on me."

The Lions' 35-year-old pivot Kevin Glenn may be thinking the same. His team took an early 14-0 lead but he then threw four interceptions in a 27-20 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. It was only the third time the Lions lost at home since 2011.

And this week the Lions go into the game with the virtually unknown Ryan Cave playing the key position on the offensive line, left tackle. Cave was rushed in this week after Andre Ramsey fractured an ankle, Cave had only two practices with his new team.

The upside is that Cave spent most of training camp with the Alouettes and knows the players he will be trying to block.

"Everyone knows there's a new guy on the offensive line who's had two days of practice, but he's a very intelligent guy, very football smart," said Glenn. "He's picked up the scheme and blocking assignments very quickly.

"We'll see what happens in a game but I have confidence he'll do well."

The Alouettes got a break on Thursday when CFL disciplinarians elected to give linebacker Kyries Hebert a fine rather than a suspension for his clothesline tackle on Calgary's Jon Cornish.

So the stage is set for yet another in a long history of close battles between the Alouettes and Lions in Montreal. Last season, a last-play Sean Whyte field goal gave Montreal a 39-38 win.

B.C. coach Mike Benevides played film of that game to his players as a reminder.

"What happened last year was BS," said Benevides. "We had multiple turnovers and didn't score off it.

"We became unglued somewhat and, at the end of the game, there's a quarterback that hadn't played a lot (Tanner Marsh) who finds a way to get into field goal range and beat you. You can't let that happen."

Smith was tabbed as the Alouettes starter going into their first season since 2000 without CFL al-time passing leader Calvillo behind centre.

He had an impressive array of receivers led by S.J. Green, but wasn't able to find them consistently, often overthrowing them. The team's lone touchdown by running back Steven Lumbala came on the final play of the game after pair of Calgary roughing calls put the ball on the one.

"More reps, more practice," was Smith's answer to what he needs to find his groove. "As a quarterback, I think staring down the eye of adversity and understanding that only you can surface yourself out should be fun.

"Anybody who is worth their weight in marbles would not want to dig themselves into a situation like this, but would love to dig themselves out."

How long first-year coach Tom Higgins will stick with Smith if the offence doesn't click remains to be seen. Marsh is the backup, and third stringer Alex Brink has CFL experience.

When asked about it, Higgins didn't rule it out. But he expects that Smith only needs time and experience with CFL football to succeed.

"I don't know if we're going to a two-quarterback system," he said. "I'm hoping that's not the case.

"But Troy has been under pressure before. It's about production. It's about us giving him an opportunity to be successful. I think we have the ability to run the football. We need to do that. We need to get the ball out of Troy's hand quicker in certain situations, but also give him an opportunity to air the ball out."

The Alouettes will be without key receiver Duran Carter, as well as safety Mike Edem, with ankle injuries.

The Lions have started the season without No. 1 quarterback Travis Lulay, who is on the six-game injured list with a shoulder injury. The 35-year-old Glenn completed 18 of 28 passes for 251 yards against the Eskimos, including 102 yards to Andrew Harris.

Cutting down on turnovers will be the top priority, although that will be a challenge against a ball-hungry Montreal defence.

"They're an attack defence," said Glenn. "They come after you.

"They want to disrupt the offence and cause turnovers, and that's one thing we learned last week, that we can't turn the ball over and win."

Former Lions defensive end Chris Wilson will likely line up across from Cave, but linebackers like Hebert and Chip Cox will no doubt also test the newcomer as he tries to play one of the most difficult positions on the field with little practice time.

Benevides is confident the six-foot-five 345-pound Cave won't be trampled.

"With the challenge a very good Montreal defence presents, at least his advantage is that he's seen those men and what they can do," said Benevides. "Yeah, it's not an ideal world to have a professional player playing after two days with the program, but that's the challenge we have to face.

"He's done a good job. He's a smart player, a big player. In three days of knowing him, I like him a lot."

Note to readers: CORRECTS Smith's passing yards to 154 sted 148 in fourth graf.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Public finally sees inside the Museum for Human Rights

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google