The Montreal Alouettes have seen plenty of attrition in the coaching ranks this offseason, with offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich and offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch both bolting for Toronto promotions in December (and Himebauch may be on the move again). That attrition continued Tuesday with reports from Didier Orméjuste and Herb Zurkowsky that Alouettes' defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar would be leaving to accept an equivalent position at Purdue University. It's a reasonable move for Tibesar, as he'll probably be paid more at a NCAA FBS school like Purdue and his prospects for advancement may also be higher; he just finished his first year as a CFL DC and his defence struggled down the stretch last season, so he may not have had a long leash in Montreal.. However, especially when combined with the rest of their recent attrition, this does make things a little difficult for the Alouettes.
As we've previously noted here, offseason coaching moves are all about timing. The eight-team structure of the CFL means that the supply of assistant coaches with high-level experience in the league is extremely limited, and many of the top candidates on the move tend to find jobs early in the offseason. There aren't a lot of top candidates left for Montreal to go after, particularly as Hamilton has apparently nabbed Winnipeg linebackers coach Casey Creehan as their new defensive coordinator. That doesn't mean they're without options, as the Alouettes could tab an internal candidate like defensive line coach Mike Sinclair (who has spent four seasons with the team and is presumably well-acquainted with their defensive systems), or they could bring in someone looking for a promotion (like Argonauts' special-teams coach Mike O'Shea), someone without a current CFL job (like former Roughriders' head coach/Tiger-Cats' defensive coordinator Greg Marshall or former Roughriders' defensive coordinator Gary Etcheverry) or someone from south of the border. Barring the hire of a candidate like Marshall or Etcheverry, though, it looks like Montreal will enter the 2012 season not only on short preparation, but with new coordinators on each side of the ball who haven't held CFL positions at that level before.
Still, that might not be the Alouettes' only worry. The reports that general manager Jim Popp was a candidate to the Indianapolis Colts' GM position didn't lead to anything more than an interview (as they hired former Toronto Argonauts' lineman Ryan Grigson instead), but the attention Popp got from that could lead to him picking up an NFL personnel position in Indianapolis or elsewhere. The annual rumours about coach Marc Trestman perhaps leaving for the NFL or NCAA are back in full swing too, and he may even be a candidate for the Colts. While the loss of coordinators like Milanovich and Tibesar is worrying, the departures of Popp and/or Trestman could be much more damaging for the Alouettes. For now, this is significant attrition, but the two biggest names are still in the fold.
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