LENNOXVILLE, QC — Montreal Alouettes pivot Troy Smith has accomplished a lot in his football career.
He was a four-star high school recruit coming out of Columbus, OH. where he was then recruited by his home-state school, Ohio State University. In his five-year career with the Buckeyes, Smith won a Heisman Trophy as the Nation’s best player, and led the school to the National Championship game.
“What impressed me the most, is the fact that when Troy got out there he was just expected to watch and see what this league is all about. But of course, with all the injuries, he was kind of forced and thrown into a situation, but he preformed.”
– Anthony Calvillo on Troy Smith
But what does that all mean to present-day Troy Smith, as he continues to compete at Alouettes training camp at Bishop’s University?
“Ohio State has nothing to do with being in Lennoxville, Quebec. It has nothing to do with Montreal, Quebec. It has nothing to do with the Montreal Alouettes,” said Smith. “This is a totally different situation, so you need to treat it that way.”
As you can tell by Smith’s response, he doesn’t feel as if he’s earned the number one job in Montreal by simply having a recognizable name. And despite finishing last year’s condensed campaign with impressive numbers, he still feels like he has work to do.
In three starts during the regular season, Smith passed for 781 yards, eight touchdown passes and accomplished this with a 53.9 completion percentage.
Not bad for any first year QB in the CFL.
Smith’s predecessor Anthony Calvillo was impressed with what he saw from the rookie last season.
“What impressed me the most, is the fact that when Troy got out there he was just expected to watch and see what this league is all about,” Calvillo told CFL.ca on Wednesday.
“But of course, with all the injuries, he was kind of forced and thrown into a situation, but he preformed,” added pro football’s all-time leading passer.
Smith is seemingly primed to become Montreal’s new official starting quarterback, though he’ll have to continue battling with Tanner Marsh as training camp progresses.
Asked whether or not he feels any pressure in being compared to one of the all-time greats in Calvillo, Smith could only take it as a compliment.
“No, if anything there was a time that no one knew my name and they weren’t saying anything. So if you’re bringing my name up in the same breath as Anthony Calvillo, I feel okay.”
As happy as Smith was during his first year with the Alouettes, he understands that the organization isn’t used to mediocrity. After registering just eight wins and being eliminated in the Eastern Semi-Final, Smith hopes to get the Als back in the championship conversation.
“I know a little bit of the (Alouettes) history. We definitely got to pick up on the good foot,” said a confident Smith.
Smith knows he needs to maintain pace the offence played towards the end of last year, and continue to put points on the board. But he acknowledges it’s not all on his shoulders.
“I know that it isn’t all on me. I have 11 other guys around out there on the field that do a tremendous job of being where they’re suppose to be,” Smith said.
“I think they take pride in being professional also, so they make my job easy, it’s not all on me.”
It seems that both Smith and Calvillo are in agreement that it isn’t all on the second year quarterbacks shoulders.
“Not everything is on his (Smith’s) shoulders, because ( the Alouettes) just have too much talent,” commented Calvillo.
On paper, the passing attack looks to be very formidable and deep in talent.
SJ Green will aim to register his fourth-straight 1,000-yard receiving season. His partner in crime Jamel Richardson is hoping to stay healthy and be the downfield threat that he was from 2008-2012. Duron Carter, meanwhile, will try to continue on his rapid path towards stardom, after posting incredible numbers during his rookie campaign.
And with the additions of Dave Stala and the possibility of Chad Johnson joining the receiving corps, Smith will have a wealth of options to work with.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store right now,” Smith said during Montreal’s mini-camp in April.