Coaching change fails to help Als

The Canadian Press
Kelsey Patterson

MONTREAL–The Montreal Alouettes had a new head coach on the sidelines but the result on the field didn’t change.
General manager Kavis Reed made his Alouettes’ coaching debut yesterday as Montreal lost 29-11 to the Ottawa Redblacks for their fifth-straight defeat.
Reed took over as head coach Wednesday after firing Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe.
“We made mistakes,” said Reed, who coached the Edmonton Eskimos from 2011-13.
“It started with the way I set the team up in terms of the personnel going into the week,” he noted. “I’m culpable for that.
“When the score reflects this way, it’s not going to reflect on the players, it’s going to reflect on the coaches,” Reed added.
“Today we were a bad fundamental team.”
Reed’s shuffling of Montreal’s coaching staff–Anthony Calvillo became the team’s offensive co-ordinator and Greg Quick was named defensive co-ordinator–did nothing to boost the struggling team.
Darian Durant started the game at quarterback but was replaced in the second quarter by backup Drew Willy after failing to complete a pass in six tries.
Willy went 12-of-17 for 83 passing yards in relief.
After the game Reed confirmed Durant still was his starting QB.
Montreal’s next game is against the Toronto Argonauts this Saturday.
Montreal (3-9), which held the ball for just 19 minutes, finished with 151 total yards and eight first downs.
Ottawa had 421 yards on offence and 28 first downs in 41 minutes of possession.
“I was flat,” admitted Durant. “I just didn’t get it done.
“There’s no excuse,” he stressed. “It was a flat-out bad performance.
“As the leader of this team, I can’t perform like that.”
It took the Alouettes more than 23 minutes to get a first down.
“I’m trying to get rid of the ball too quickly instead of standing upright and delivering the ball,” said Durant.
“When you rush things and rush your footwork, that’s what happens.”
The victory propelled the Redblacks (5-7-1), winners of four of their last five games, into first place in the CFL’s East Division.
Quarterback Drew Tate made his first start of the season in relief of Trevor Harris, who separated his right shoulder last week.
Tate went 21-of-29 for 185 passing yards, including one touchdown and an interception, before leaving the game with an injury of his own in the third quarter.
“Initially we thought he had the wind knocked out of him,” Redblacks’ coach Rick Campbell said of Tate.
“But we really don’t know the extent,” he noted. “He doesn’t feel right.
“We’re going to get a further evaluation.”
Tate’s replacement, Ryan Lindley, made his CFL debut and completed 7-of-14 passes for 76 yards.
But it was more of the same for the third-place Alouettes, who have lost their last five games by a combined score of 174-70.
Diontae Spencer put the game out of reach with a 113-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown at 12:08 of the second quarter.
A two-point conversion had the visitors up 19-3.
“It was big right before the half,” said Spencer. “Everyone was saying that was the spark we needed.
“That kind of gave everyone the feeling that we could finish the game.
“When you score on special teams, it energizes the whole team,” he reasoned.
“That’s probably the biggest swing play in CFL football,” said Campbell.
“The other team is missing it out on three [points] and you take it the other way.
“That was an 11-point swing and a huge momentum-changer,” he noted. “Huge play.”