Montreal Alouettes face B.C. Lions minus head coach Khari Jones in COVID-19 isolation

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MONTREAL — With head coach Khari Jones in COVID-19 isolation, the Montreal Alouettes' play-calling Saturday will be by committee led by Andre Bolduc.

The Alouettes (2-2) are at home to the B.C. Lions (3-2) minus Jones.

Following Montreal's bye week, the Als announced Tuesday the head coach had tested positive for the virus and must isolate for at least 10 days.

Bolduc, the team's assistant head coach and running backs coach, oversaw practice this week with Jones participating in team meetings virtually.

Bolduc, a 50-year-old from Alma, Que., and former Alouette from 1998 to 2001, is a veteran football coach in his seventh season on Montreal's staff.

He'll get offensive input Saturday from assistant Michael Lionello high up in a Percival Molson Stadium booth as well as offensive line coach Luc Brodeur-Jourdain.

“We have a good idea of what B.C. does but obviously there are adjustments every week," Bolduc said. "So (Lionello) will really be able to tell me what they are doing exactly in terms of coverage.

“We have the same play sheet so we’ll agree fairly quickly for the play calls that have been pre-selected since the start of the week.”

Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. admitted this is an unusual situation in his career, but the former Oregon University star was confident in Montreal's chances of winning at home for the first time this season.

“This is a unique situation and not one that we want to be in,” Adams Jr. said. “It’s the days that we’re living in.

"Yeah, it’s tough, but what can we do? We can’t dwell on it. We've just got to keep going. We had a great week of practice and we’ll need to translate that into the game.”

He threw four touchdown passes in a 51-29 win over the Ottawa Redblacks in Week 5. The quarterback is striving for more consistency throughout a game.

“Those first three games have been pretty inconsistent and that last one was more consistent," Adams Jr. said.

"I just want to keep building off of that. I want to stay patient, keep taking what they give me, keep moving the chains and be a better game manager than I have been in the first three games.”

Lions quarterback Mike Reilly also threw four touchdown in a 45-17 win over Ottawa in Week 6, which was a season-high in points for B.C.

Reilly is "a warrior," said Bolduc, with a receiving corps that deserves respect.

Lucky Whitehead leads the CFL in average yards per catch (17.5) and yards after catch (178), and ranks third in receiving yards with 421.

“They have a really good group with a balanced squad,” Bolduc said.

“They run when they need to and Reilly isn’t scared to run as well despite his size. We need to watch out for this guy, try to find ways to annoy him and we’ve done that well this season. It’s a good challenge for our defensive line.”

Bolduc will remain the on-field authority next week as the Alouettes prepare for a Sept. 24 game in Toronto against the Argonauts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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