VERO BEACH, FL -- After the way he finished his inaugural CFL campaign, Montreal Alouettes pivot Troy Smith is a confident man - and who can blame him, really?
Taking over for an injured Anthony Calvillo, and an under-performing duo of Josh Neiswander and Tanner Marsh, Smith was anointed as the team's starter with three games left in the season.
In those trio of outings, Smith passed for 781 yards, and eight touchdowns, accomplishing both feats with an impressive 53.9 per cent completion rating.
Not bad for a "rookie".
Following his success during the regular season, Smith was named the starting QB for Montreal's Eastern Semi-Final matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The game was a quarterback's nightmare, with blustering winds forcing both teams to keep the ball on the ground as often as possible. Still, Smith held his own, completing 14 passes for 142 yards, a touchdown and an interception in an overtime loss to the eventual East Division Champions.
When the 29 year-old was asked how he will approach his sophomore season with Alouettes, he was rather blunt.
“Like a horse with blinders on.”
“We are going to run into the wall full speed, all we want is a Grey Cup Championship. That’s the only thing on my mind,” he added
Smith is aware that he is filling in big shoes for arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all-time in Calvillo.
“The tradition here (in Monteal) has been such (Grey Cup Championships), so I think we as players should do nothing but follow along with the good play that has been here.”
Whether it's Smith, Marsh or newcomer Alex Brink who becomes the starting quarterback for the Alouettes this season, the Als will have no shortage of talent at receiver.
S.J. Green, who was second in the league in receiving yards last season with 1,197, will be a top target, while Duron Carter will aim to build on the success he had last year.
In addition to those two receivers, non-import receiver Dave Stala, who the Als picked up from the Ticats, as well as the possibility of Chad Johnson on the roster adds to the options in the passing attack.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store right now,” said Smith of his group of receivers.
Regardless of who will be catching the ball for the Als, you can be sure that Smith will be throwing it their way with plenty of confidence.