TORONTO — For David Foucault, it will be the ultimate job interview.
The Montreal Carabins towering offensive tackle will be someone to watch this weekend at the CFL combine in Toronto when many of the top-ranked draft prospects strut their stuff before league coaches and GMs.
“It’s very important . . . it’s probably the most important job interview of my life,” the six-foot-seven, 300-pound Foucault said in a telephone interview. “I’ll need to do well in my drills and perform because all the teams will be there and will have questions for me.
“I believe I’m an athletic player, a big man, a strong man with long arms and good feet. I’ll have to show my personality, skill and willingness to work hard.”
Foucault and the other prospects will be measured and weighed Saturday as well as perform the bench press, vertical jump and standing jump. The following day they’ll run the 40-yard dash as well as participate in one-on-one drills in helmets and shoulder pads.
McGill tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the No. 1 prospect, is skipping the combine to be fresh for his pro day next week in Montreal. So the spotlight will be firmly on Foucault and Laval offensive lineman Pierre Lavertu, who’s ranked No. 2 overall.
That’s fine with Foucault.
“In my mind I need to work hard and get better every day,” he said. “No top player is perfect and I’m someone who focuses on every detail.
“I just concentrate on myself and what I do.”
However, Foucault will carry the weight of expectation on his broad shoulders. Earlier this month, the converted defensive lineman posted a 33.5-inch vertical jump, 4.45-second shuttle run and standing broad jump of eight feet seven inches at a regional NFL combine in Tampa, Fla. Those results earned Foucault a spot in a super regional event next month in Detroit.
“That has given me the push to keep working harder every day and not stop,” Foucault said. “My dream is to be a professional football player and if I get the chance to play in the NFL, that would be great.
“But I also need to do the best job I can at the CFL combine because I need to be consistent, I need to do better tests. That’s what I need to show.”
By comparison at the East West Bowl all-star game in May, Foucault had a vertical of 30.5 inches, a 4.88-second shuttle and 8’2 broad jump. Foucault credits his improvement to the two-plus months he spent at Athletic Edge Sports Performance conditioning in Bradenton, Fla., a training facility owned and operated by Toronto native Mike Gough whose clients include CFL, NFL, NHL, major league baseball and tennis players as well as pro golfers.
Carabins head coach Danny Maciocia, a former CFL head coach and GM, said Foucault is a definite pro prospect.
“He’s as gifted as gifted can be,” Maciocia said. “You look at a kid like that and think he can’t be co-ordinated but he is.
“To a certain extent he defies logic a little bit. There’s still work to be done but there’s no question in my mind if he can stay healthy, which is the case with everybody, he’s going to do very well for himself.”
Maciocia said NFL scouts are intrigued by Foucault because he moves so well for such a big man.
“They wonder if he’s a guy they can sign as a priority free agent, invest some money in and have him come down and spend maybe a year developing on the practice roster,” Maciocia said. “I know there is but there might be more than just one team that may entertain keeping him around and developing him.”
Maciocia firmly believes Foucault can play either guard or tackle in the CFL. Foucault played both positions at Montreal but Maciocia said Foucault’s mobility and 34-inch arms made him an effective tackle.
“People aren’t going to try to get under his pads and march him into the quarterback because physically they can’t,” Maciocia said. “So they’re going to try to double-move and speed-rush him.
“But his feet are so good and he has such a long reach that he’s just going to ride the defensive lineman past the quarterback so he (defensive player) will have to come back and that plays into your favour if you’re on the offensive side of the ball.”
Lavish praise, indeed, considering Foucault began his university career as a defensive lineman. But after becoming Carabins coach in ’11, Maciocia recommended Foucault make the switch, much like he did in Edmonton with Canadian Patrick Kabongo, the current B.C. Lion who came to the CFL after playing defensive tackle at Nebraska.
“He was lukewarm to the idea at first, like they all are,” Maciocia said. “So I gave him the example of Patrick Kabongo because that’s what we did in Edmonton.
“To his credit, he jumped on board and worked at it. But as a former GM, when you take a look at David the arrow is clearly pointing up because he’s got a huge upside. There aren’t many bad habits because he hasn’t had the opportunity to develop many.”
Foucault said his transition to the offensive line was an easy one because that’s where he began playing when he first got involved in football.
“I started on the offensive line when I was 11 or 12 years old,” he said. “I played three years there before my coach told me I had learned all I could and it was time to change positions.
“When I talked to Danny about it, I told myself I should listen to what he said because he’s a good guy and knows all about this.”
Maciocia has also taken the unique approach of coaching the Carabins predominantly in English so if they went to the pro ranks they’d understand what their coaches wanted.
“When you get drafted and go to training camp you can’t hide in the back of the class,” Maciocia said. “If anything, you’ve got to be at the front willing to ask questions so when you take the field you know exactly what you’re doing.
“We’ve pushed that on him. He also took an English course while he was here and those two months in Florida really helped him an awful lot. But he’s done it the old-fashioned way, he’s worked very hard to put himself where he is today.”
When he’s finished playing football, Foucault would like to put his degree to work and get involved in law enforcement.
“I’d like to be a police officer,” he said. “I always like to have some action and move a little bit, which might explain why I’d like to do this.
“If I get drafted, I’ll take a break from school and then start again because after football we do have a life. Maybe after 10 years (of pro football) being a police officer would be great.”