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MONTREAL — No matter how hard fans and media may try to spin it, Marc Trestman insists the rivalry between the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts is played exclusively between the white lines, not outside of them.
According to Trestman, who is entering his fifth-straight post-season as head coach of the Alouettes, the so-called head-to-head competition between himself and Argos head coach Scott Milanovich is overplayed and non-existent.
“I don’t look at it that way,” said Trestman.
“I’ve said it before; it’s not Scott vs. Marc or Marc vs. Scott. I’m just terribly excited for Scott (Milanovich) and the job he’s done and the job Jim Barker’s done there,” said Trestman in his first meeting with the media since the end of the regular season.
Trestman’s admiration for their rivals down the 401 didn’t end there. The two-time Grey Cup champion praised the work of Argonauts pivot Ricky Ray, who Trestman believes poses as a more-than-dangerous threat when he’s on his game.
“I think he’s just been outstanding,” said Trestman.
“We have unbelievable respect for Ricky Ray. We had it for him when he was with Edmonton and it hasn’t changed. He’s an ice man, he’s able to play in chaos and make things happen and obviously he showed all his skills,” he added.
Heading into Sunday’s Eastern Final at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Ray has suited up in just one full game against the Als throughout the 2012 campaign; a 280-yard, two touchdown performance in Week 5.
The next time Ray took to the field against Montreal, he ended up throwing just four passes before being injured in the first quarter.
Backup QB Jarious Jackson would start for the Double Blue in their next encounter.
With Ray on the sidelines for the most part, the Als won two of three matchups against the Argos this season, holding a 75-45 advantage in the scoring department.
But with the regular season over and done with, Trestman believes his club will have their hands full with the surging Boatmen.
“This is a team that is highly primed and ready to move forward,” said Trestman.
“It’s going to take everything we have on all three sides of the ball. They’ve done a great job defensively – Chris Jones has done a great job there. They’re a high-pressure team and we’ll have to do everything in our power to keep AC standing.”
While Trestman was seemingly eager to pump the tires of his opponent, he was also quick to point out that his own club is no slouch either.
“It’s exciting that we’ve got this opportunity,” said Trestman.
“We’re here at home, we’ve earned the bye, we’ve had our chance to rest and regroup…we’re excited about playing the game.”