November 7, 2011

Trestman optimistic heading into Semi-Final match-up


MONTREAL – Coach Marc Trestman came away surprisingly upbeat after watching video of the Montreal Alouettes’ one-sided 43-1 defeat in their final regular season game in Vancouver.

The pitch from the coach was to put the game behind them and stay positive heading into the post-season.

”Believe it or not, after you look at the tape there’s a good football team in there, there really is,” Trestman said Monday. ”There are guys who know how to play and when they’re doing things the right way we can be a good, competitive football team.

”I think once the guys saw that today they left here with a much better idea of what has to get done.”

That starts Sunday when for the first time in Trestman’s four-year tenure, the Alouettes will have to play in a division semifinal. They will face Hamilton indoors at Olympic Stadium.

Against the Lions, they looked nothing like the team that has dominated the East for most of the last decade as B.C. held them to 146 yards of offence while B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay piled up 477 yards.

”Overall, we did not match their intensity, offensively, defensively and on special teams,” Trestman said. ”In such an important game you would have expected otherwise, but we didn’t get that.

”Defensively, our attention to details and fundamentals weren’t good. We didn’t tackle well and we’d become a pretty good tackling team up until that point. Our defensive line got some hits, but we lost containment on three players and there were three big runs by Lulay. Everybody took their turns. Offensively, the same thing. Guys took turns making mistakes.”

Despite that grim assessment, Trestman looked relaxed.

”I’ve got a chance to be part of something fantastic and I’m excited for myself and for the team,” he explained. ”We’ve been through a lot and I’m excited to see what happens here on in.”

Trestman was glad to see the offence show up Monday to review video of the game. It’s the defence’s turn on Tuesday and the following day they will start preparing for a Hamilton team that played them tight this season.

Montreal finished the regular season at 10-8 while Hamilton was 8-10. The teams split their season series two games apiece, with each winning its home games. Total points scored in their games favoured Montreal by a mere 117-116.

However, the Alouettes may have lost another starter in linebacker Ramon Guzman, who was injured against B.C. But Trestman said there was a good chance that Canadian middle linebacker Shea Emry, who looks to be over his concussion symptoms, may be able to come off the nine-game injured list.

The Alouettes have played most of the latter part of the season with only one of their starting five defensive backfielders (Billy Parker), but they are not the only team with injury woes. Trestman said they had as many last season and still won.

They are also without left tackle Josh Bourke, a key part of their offence.

In Vancouver, CFL passing leader Anthony Calvillo was held to nine completions for 63 yards. League receiving leader Jamel Richardson caught only two passes for five yards, while rushing leader Brandon Whitaker had five carries for only 14 yards.

”At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done and now the season is over and it’s a new season and everything can be eliminated if we can take care of our business on Sunday,” said Trestman.

”If we don’t there will be more media speculation and rightfully so. The season’s over. We did the best we could and we’re going to move forward in a positive fashion and put our energy into Sunday’s game.”

The Ticats enter the playoffs on a two-game losing run. First-place Winnipeg has also dropped two in a row but got a bye to the Eastern Final by edging Montreal 2-1 in their season series.

”It’s an interesting time of the year,” added Trestman. ”You could ask Winnipeg and Hamilton the same questions right now.

”I think all three are looking at this as a wide-open competition and certainly a fresh start for each team. That’s how we’re looking at it. We have more guys who have been in this sort of fight than anyone and certainly we have to use that to our advantage this week.”