Breaking down Alouettes’ 2023 coaching staff
Earlier this week, the Montreal Alouettes unveiled head coach Jason Maas’ staff for the upcoming season. Familiar faces like Anthony Calvillo, Noel Thorpe, Mike Lionello, Greg Quick and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain are back. Some are in different roles. There are some new faces too. Here’s what you need to know about the coaching staff:
A lot of thought went into putting this group of coaches together. It’s an important aspect of team building because these people will spend countless hours together from May through November.
Maas had a clear vision for what he wanted the staff to look like, and it all came together nicely.
“They were all vouched for by someone who worked on our staff or someone that I knew personally,” Maas said. “That was first and foremost in my mind, just assembling a great group of guys who love to teach football, be around a team, be a part of a team, but some continuity. That was huge.”
The other interesting part of this group is that most of them have a connection to Montreal. Many of them have played for the Alouettes. Calvillo (offensive coordinator/QB coach), Brodeur-Jourdain (offensive line), Chandler Jones (defensive assistant), Tyrell Sutton (running backs) and Corvey Irvin (defensive line) have suited up for this team before. It’s not uncommon for a coach or coaches to have played for the team they’re now working for, but having this many is rare.
“The new hires, they either had some connection to Montreal, which I thought was very important, and as you see, throughout our (staff), we’re looking for good people that work hard and that understand that team atmosphere, but that also have that connection to Montreal, too. It’s a special place.”
Byron Archambault named assistant head coach:
Archambault will ditch the linebacker’s coach tag he had from a year ago, but he will continue to be the special teams coordinator. He also serves as the director of pro personnel on the football ops side.
But what does an assistant head coach do?
“It’s just to help the head coach out,” Archambault said. “It’s to assist the coach in everything he does. I’m extremely happy to be able to work with Jason Maas. He’s someone I have heard a lot of good things about from Danny Maciocia, who worked with him before.
“I’m here to assist him with everything he has in terms of responsibilities, game management, putting together the game plan, and anything else.”
Quick, who has been coaching since 1979, will take over as linebackers coach in 2023. He was coaching the defensive line last season. The 66-year-old was the linebackers coach in Montreal in 2014 and then again in 2016 and 2017.
Dave Jackson will serve as Archambault’s assistant on special teams.
How will the offence be called this year?
During his introductory press conference last December, Maas made it clear that he will be calling the plays on offence this season, but Calvillo and rest of the offensive staff will have their say in creating the game plan.
“When we’re game planning, there’s going to be something that everyone brings to the table,” Maas explained. “Ultimately, it will be a collective decision on what stays in and what (is removed). Obviously, I’ll have more say than anybody, where I can trump somebody, but I have a whole lot of respect for the guys in our room.
“When it comes to calling plays, if you’re trying to do it with pace and tempo, you have to have a really good idea in your mind of what you really love. When you’re formulating a game plan, it’s collective when you’re putting it together, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to make a decision quickly. As soon as you hear the down and distance, you’re already formulating your thought, you’re thinking two steps ahead a lot of the time.”
What will the defence look like?
Thorpe is back as defensive coordinator. Keep in mind that he took over the role after the fourth game of the season in 2022, as he replaced Barron Miles on the Alouettes coaching staff.
This will be Irvin’s first pro coaching job. The 37-year-old does have experience coaching at the USports level with the Concordia Stingers.
Jones, who was a receiver for the Als in 2015, will also be making his first leap into the world of pro football as a coach, spent some time as a coach at San Jose State from 2017 to 2019.
So, the veteran experience from this unit will come from Thorpe and Quick.
“Noel’s defences could change a little bit every year, but you know he’s going to be aggressive,” Maas said. “When he has guys on the back end that are vets, which we do now, it allows him to do more stuff. It’s going to be quite interesting to watch us evolve in training camp. Noel and his staff have a full training camp to establish the defence he wants to run and have guys do it from day one.”
Training camp, which begins in the mid-May, should be very interesting!