May 29th, 2017

Montreal Alouettes' Training Camp: Day 1

The sun was peeking out from behind the clouds as Montreal Alouettes' head coach Jacques Chapdelaine tooted his whistle to officially open the 2017 football season Sunday afternoon. Players with the goal of making the team took the field for the first time at training camp at Bishop's University's Coulter Field .

And we're off!
Out in numbers to cheer on their favorite players, the Alouettes loyal fans were treated to the first flap of the wings of the new season. Quarterback Darren Durant stepped on the gridiron for the first time in his new uniform. The CFL veteran turned in a calm performance on day one, picking out his receivers with pinpoint accuracy. The two-time Grey Cup champion also proved that he was in-sync with his new offensive line, frequently running through difficult snap counts that kept the defence on their toes. On that offensive line, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain had a strong showing. Now entering his ninth season with the organization, the centre will be looked upon to provide leadership on a line with many fresh faces.

Rapid Fire
Receiver Danny Anthrop continued to perform well and he set the tone for the 2017 training camp. He gave the fans in attendance a first reason to cheer at the start of the one-on-one drills as he made a spectacular diving catch… Drafted earlier this month, Alex Morrison also scored some points when he made a nice catch on a Darian Durant throw… Tiquan Underwood was able to get separation from Jovon Johnson and haul in a nice reception as well… Jacory Harris threw a bomb to Seydou Junior Haidaira who made a sweet catch on the sideline… Samuel Giguère scored a major in game simulation situations, as he was left alone and hopped into the end zone… The many fans in attendance were able to meet players on the field after practice, pose for pictures and get autographs.

In the coach's words
Head coach Jacques Chapdelaine was very satisfied with the work turned in by his players. Asked how he would carry the momentum from the end of last season when he took over the team on an interim basis, Chapdelaine had nothing but compliments for his men. "I think it is important that the guys realize that I really didn't initiate that. They really created that big turnaround themselves," said Chapdelaine. "All we [the coaching staff] do is to provide structure and guidelines. The players are still embracing it as you can see the tempo was exceptional for a first practice."

A fresh start
A new opportunity has presented itself for national quarterback Derek Wendel, who was added to the roster during the rookie camp. The Ottawa Gee-Gees alumnus was offered the chance to join the coaching staff as an assistant coach on special teams, working under Bruce Reed. Wendel will have the chance to work with players who have plenty of experience on special teams, such as Martin Bédard, Nicolas Boulay and Frédéric Plesius.

Guest Coaches with the Alouettes
As per tradition, the Alouettes welcomed a total of three guest coaches to the first day of training camp. Maurice Mann, a Grey Cup champion with the Toronto Argonauts, worked with the receivers during day one. Thomas Freeman, from Jacksonville University, helped out with the offensive line. Kelvin Powell a defensive line coach with Tuskegee University, was lending a hand to Noel Thorpe on defence.

The Alouettes added the following players to the roster:
JaDerrick Farrow (I), DB, Kennesaw State
Jonah Hodges (I), RB, California
Ventral McMillan (I), DL, Tennessee at Chattanooga
Jalen Rogers (I), DB, Hawaii
Donald Unamba Jr. (I), DB, Southern Arkansas

Photos and videos available
Media can download and publish photos and videos from rookie camp by visiting

The 2017 Alouettes training camp continues on Monday, May 29, as the team will partake in two practices on Bishop's University's Coulter Field at 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.


Charles Rooke
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