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Trestman best man, so far

Gets our vote as CFL's top coach in '09 -- with Kelly close behind

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/8/2009 (3923 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman has many reasons to smile. His team has lost only once in eight games and he's at the top of the heap of the CFL coaching profession.

TED RHODES / CANWEST NEWS SERVICE ARCHIVES

Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman has many reasons to smile. His team has lost only once in eight games and he's at the top of the heap of the CFL coaching profession.

Five storylines that jumped out while observing the past week of Canadian Football League action:

WE'RE taking advantage of a slow schedule of games (just two due a bye week) to take a look at the league's coaches and evalu­ate them as they near the midway point of the season.

1 TOP OF THE CLASS -- No ques­tion here, it's Alouettes boss Marc Trestman. The studious one has his club out to a glowing 7-1 mark and quarterback Anthony Calvillo is hav­ing a career year. Trestman is one of the top offensive minds in the CFL, having learned on the job in the NFL as an offensive co-ordinator with four different teams. Trestman doesn't pound his chest about his time in the NFL but instead uses his knowledge to outplan and outperform team after team in the CFL. This guy is the present and the future in the CFL and it would be difficult to choose any coach in the league at this moment if given the choice. There's lots of football to go but Trestman is hands down the first-half coach of the year.

2 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK -- If Trestman is coach of the year, the duo of Richie Hall in Edmonton and Marcel Bellefeuille in Hamilton are battling for rookie of the year honours.

Hall took over an estab­lished club with a veteran quarterback and a stable football operations depart­ment while Bellefeuille had much less to work with after being named head coach of the Tiger-Cats in October of last year. Hall is a defensive specialist and the Esks have steadily improved on that side of the ball. Offensively, they've been just OK, but Ricky Ray is rounding into form and receiver Kelly Campbell should return after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccan­eers over the weekend. The Eskimos should make a nice surge down the stretch. Bellefeuille has made a name for himself while developing solid run games in Montreal and Saskatchewan.

He's handled the quarterbacking situa­tion between veteran Kevin Glenn and youngster Quinton Porter well and the Tiger-Cats have enjoyed a nice start to the season. These two are still on the clock and we'll get back to you some­time in October on this subject.

3 Did HE REALLY SAY THAT? -- Blue Bombers rookie head coach Mike Kelly has been the brashest of the bunch this season and has made more headlines for his quote-ability than his coach-ability. OK, no complaints here on that front. Kelly is a reporter’s dream. Just when we think it’s gonna be another ho-hum day he slags his former personnel man or questions the knowledge of the rest of the league’s coaches or takes a shot at the community ownership of his team. He’s a beauty.

 

Kelly has done some things we like, this team doesn’t quit and the players stick up for one another, but he’s also made some rookie mistakes. Can Mike Kelly adapt and learn from his mistakes? That’s the cliffhanger in the season’s best soap opera. Stay tuned.

 

4 OLD RELIABLE -- Roughriders coach Ken Miller is like a comfort­able, old jacket. It's always there when you need it, but the question is, can you wear it to the prom? Miller has done a nice job with the Riders in his two years running the show, but can he make the leap from contender to champion? The Riders are in the hunt at 4-4 but can they be the class of the West come November? Miller keeps a steady hand on the rudder and this is one of our favourite teams to watch.

They could rise out of the pack.

5 Wally, BART AND HUFF -- Not exactly class clowns but these three men are going through interesting struggles. B.C. Lions boss Wally Buono is enduring a rarity for him as a CFL coach -- a losing season.

Throw in his team's decision to taunt the Blue Bombers two weeks ago with an obscene pre-game gesture and this just isn't Buono's style. He's made the post-season in all but one of his 19 seasons as a CFL head coach but this could be No. 2. Calgary's John Hufnagel enjoyed the glory of a Grey Cup last season but has dealt with one headache after another. Still, the Stamps are in the playoff picture and this season could still be salvaged. We can't say the same for Bart Andrus and his Toronto Argos. Bart has been a bust and could be the first casualty in the coaching fraternity come this off­season. It's not the style of Argos CEO Bob Nicholson to make an in-season change. But neither is it to reward losing. Bart's in trouble if the Boatmen don't get better. Fast.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 10:53 AM CDT: Fixes errors in point 3.

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