Smith in for the long-haul with Alouettes | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League


MONTREAL -- There's no doubt in Troy Smith's mind he'll be the Montreal Alouettes starting quarterback when training camp opens in June.

"In my mind, that's the only way I will prepare,'' he said via telephone from Columbus, Ohio. "That's the only way I think I will do the team justice.

"When you think the way you're supposed to, that's when you help the team most. When you hold back, when you don't allow yourself to reach your full potential obviously you hinder the team. I want to do nothing but help the team and the only way I can is thinking as the starter.''

Montreal agreed with Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State, and youngster Tanner Marsh on three-year contracts Friday. Both took significant snaps with the club in 2013 after incumbent Anthony Calvillo suffered a season-ending concussion.

Montreal continues to await official word from Calvillo, 41, regarding his CFL future. But in November, pro football's all-time passing leader admitted he's leaning towards retirement.

Jim Popp, Montreal's head coach and GM, said there was plenty to like about Smith's play last season.

"I'm very impressed with Troy's leadership, communication skills and ability to grab his teammates' attention,'' Popp said. "Last season, Troy quickly proved to us he can adapt to the CFL and showed great promise for the future.''

Smith, 29, joined the Alouettes roughly midway through the season and took over as the starter Oct. 20, compiling a 2-1 record. Montreal finished third in the East Division and the six-foot, 225-pound Smith was under centre for the club's 19-16 overtime loss to Hamilton in the Division Semi-Final.

Late in the fourth quarter, game officials missed a pass interference call in the end zone on Montreal's Duron Carter. Instead of getting the ball at the Hamilton one-yard line with a chance for the go-ahead touchdown, the Alouettes had to settle for a field goal to force overtime.

"Losing on a fluke call does nothing but leave a bitter taste in my mouth,'' Smith said. "Playing last year makes me a little more hungry, a little more thirsty about having the chance and possibility to get to the Grey Cup.

"It's on.''

Marsh began his rookie season third on Montreal's depth chart behind Calvillo and backup Josh Neiswander. On Aug. 22, the former Arkansas Tech star came off the bench to rally Montreal to a thrilling 39-38 home win over B.C., his 57-yard completion to Eric Deslauriers setting up the game-winning field goal.

The six-foot-four, 218-pound Marsh finished his rookie season completing 56-of-106 passes for 972 yards with three TDs and eight interceptions. He also ran for 125 yards and two TDs on 21 carries.

Heady stuff considering Marsh arrived in Montreal with low expectations.

"I was just hoping to make the practice squad,'' he said via telephone from Russellville, Ark. ``The next thing you know, a year later I sign an extension, which is pretty darn awesome.''

Popp said Marsh impressed with both his legs and arm.

"We're excited about Tanner,'' he said. "We're looking forward to seeing his athletic skills and his dual-threat ability as he continues to develop into what we feel will be a premier player.

"His performance versus B.C. made him an instant icon in Montreal. Marsh Madness continues.''

But Marsh understands he'll return to Montreal in 2014 with no guarantees.

"I got an extension so obviously they have faith in me,'' he said. "It gives me a chance to come back next year and compete.

"It gives me a little confidence to come in and compete and know I have a chance to be the quarterback with the Montreal Alouettes for the next three years.''

Marsh has no indication what Calvillo will ultimately decide but admitted he was stunned by Calvillo's football knowledge.

``The biggest thing I learned last year was I have a lot to learn,'' Marsh said. ``I remember A.C. and I going over reads and every little thing.

"After that first meeting, I was like, 'Wow, there's a reason why he's the best.' I learned more from him than I could even describe.''

Fan Comments
als rule
C C luc brodeur-jourdain has signed a new 3 year contract to remain a montreal alouette!!
December 27, 2013 - 12:21pm
als rule
H123: montreal returns to it's favorite position in the east as the beasts and hamilton and toronto fight it out for the host of the east semi-final!! if you observe QB smith closely in 2013 your see he was well schooled in his position!! with a mini camp in florida, plus TC in lennoxville, 2 exhibition games and a stable offensive coaching staff, OC and a new HC plus a strong player core the BIRDS OF PREY RULE AGAIN!!
December 25, 2013 - 12:24pm
Must be a slow off season with two identical articles. TO and Hamilton may be a toss-up for 1st. Montreal above the RB's but no one else. Smith will really still be in his first of CFL experience when next season ends. He's good but no magician. Good Luck AR, my friend.
December 24, 2013 - 7:36pm
als rule
smith dream on!! what? that's rich you can't even acknowledge the PI in the EZ and the ball should have been placed on the 1 yard line and still believing no way montreal could have scored from the 1!! it's just so plain it cost montreal the game BUT all you can respond with is look at all the penalties that were never called on montreal against the cats!! as for you believing cox caused PI in the EZ in the 3rd quarter against fantuz that you believe wasn't called then explain how your the only one that saw it as no other cat fan has ever mentioned it!! the 3 year p/off winless streak ends in 2014 as montreal re-claims its spot in the east
December 23, 2013 - 4:57pm
als rule
as the top rated 1st place team in the east and hamilton re-claims it's usual place in the east basement!!
December 23, 2013 - 11:23pm
GC Bound
Of course AC stays within the Montreal organization as QB coach/
December 22, 2013 - 2:18pm
als rule
@GCB: AC will never be any type of coach with the alouettes!! if he decides to work for the alouettes off the field it will be in the front office or as an assistant GM to GM popp!!
December 22, 2013 - 4:55pm
als rule
watched the NFL bears get slaughtered last nite by the philly eagles and later bears HC MT looked like a deer caught in headlights after the game in a press conference!! which made me wonder is AC the next QB coach in 2014 for the chicago bears?!!
December 23, 2013 - 12:37pm
Not a snowball's chance that happens AR. Anyways the Bears don't need a QB coach, they need a defense. Setting historic teams lows in many defensive categories this year.
December 23, 2013 - 9:43pm
als rule
back in the saddle again as the rulers of the east!! can't wait to see the other team's fans faces with their shocked/stunned/blank look as the mighty montreal alouettes return to rule as usual in the east and west of the CFL!!
December 22, 2013 - 11:19am
DREAM on! Smith still complaining about a missed call that did NOT cost the Als the game (they DO go both ways!) Als were in third and will have to fight their way past TO and Hamilton! And then win a p/o game which they haven't done in THREE years now!
December 22, 2013 - 4:47pm
The only blank look will be on your face AR when you realize that a Heisman trophy winner is not necessarily a great CFL player ( remember Ricky Williams?)
December 22, 2013 - 7:26pm
als rule
Jhead: montreal has had success with HTWs johnny rodgers(nebraska) and troy smith(ohio state) and first pick in the 1st round of the NFL draft tom cousineau(ohio state) compared to toronto's anthony davis(usc) and ricky williams(texas) who left a lot to be desired!! so it's no surprise that once again you have that blank look on your face when toronto is compared to montreal and comes in 2nd best!!
December 23, 2013 - 11:17pm
als rule
WERE BACK!! the beasts of the east can't wait for 2014 and watching the other 8 team's fans sitting in shock as montreal rolls on to VICTORY!!
December 22, 2013 - 10:40am