A few days before the start of training camp, the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, Khari Jones, is excited at the idea of reconnecting with the field.
• To read also: The Sean Thomas-Erlington of the Alouettes?
• Read also: Brett Favre sued for several million dollars
The 50-year-old will be in his third campaign at the helm of the Sparrows. Last year, the one who also wears the hat of offensive coordinator had a lot of success with his unit. The “Als” finished the season at the top of the Canadian Football League (CFL) rankings in net offense (5205 yards), rushing yards (2023), first plays obtained (296) and possession time (33:19).
Jones must therefore deal with the pressure to repeat his exploits.
"You want to have that kind of pressure," he said Thursday. When there are expectations and we imagine that you are going to do great things, it means that you are doing things in the right way. I love that! I always accept this kind of challenge and I want to ensure that we exceed expectations.”
A little over two weeks ago, the CFL announced rule changes to, among other things, promote higher scores.
"I think that's a good thing, because we have several plays inside the hash lines," Jones said. We already know what we like to do and how it affects the game. Now we have to adapt to the reduced distance [between the hash marks].
This, however, lengthened the to-do list for Jones and his offensive coaching staff.
"All of our plays were drawn using the old hash lines," quarterbacks coach Anthony Calvillo said. Coaches in attack, we had to redesign all our games. It created a lot of extra work.”
“We are now trying to see if some of our concepts still work with the new hash marks. The good news is that we have training camp to check all that,” continued the former star pivot of the Alouettes.
Watch out for penalties
The CFL has also made changes regarding kickoff penalties. All penalties for breach of immunity will be 15 yards. Previously, a 15-yard immunity breach penalty was only imposed if the kick return specialist caught the ball in the air; the penalty was five yards if the ball first bounced to the ground.
In 2021, the Alouettes were the most punished team and many of these penalties were taken by players playing on special teams.
The coordinator of these during the last season, Mickey Donovan, was also shown the exit door for this reason.
"Special teams penalties will be a big change," Jones said. It was a problem for us last year. It will be up to Byron [Archambault, the new special teams coordinator] and all of us to make sure it doesn't happen again this year."