'We want to bring the juice:' Maciocia wants more pep from Alouettes

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MONTREAL — Danny Maciocia wants to see the Alouettes play with a lot more pace.

The Montreal general manager says he met with the team Friday to share his vision after taking over head coaching duties on an interim basis from the fired Khari Jones.

"We want to bring the juice every single day," Maciocia said as the Alouettes prepared to host the Edmonton Elks on Thursday. "We want to play fast for the simple reason that when you play fast you’re going to be able to get in your conditioning, there’s going to be fatigue that’s going to set in but we won’t let fatigue beat us.

"We're going to hope that playing with that pace, when the fourth quarter rolls around, we should be able to close out games because we’re ready to close out games."

The Alouettes (1-3) pulled the trigger on a coaching change while on a bye last week, relieving Jones and defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles of their duties.

Maciocia will hold the reins for the rest of the season, after which he says the team will hire a new coach. Anthony Calvillo will be calling the plays on offence, and Noel Thorpe returned for a third stint at the club and will be defensive co-ordinator.

Montreal's struggled dated back to last season, when they lost three of their last four regular-season games before falling to Hamilton in the East Division semifinal.

"We can’t say that we’ve played really well in the last nine games, I think we have a 2-7 record," said offensive lineman Kristian Matte. "As a group, we didn't do the job and when that happens there needs to be changes. Sometimes it's with players and sometimes it’s with coaches. Unfortunately that’s our business."

Thorpe echoed Maciocia’s desire for pace, and added that the defence needs to play with an edge.

"I want the guys to run the ball, be physical and be disruptive," Thorpe said. "There’s talent on this roster and there’s talent on this defence. These guys need to go out and play fast."

The Alouettes will continue with Trevor Harris as the starting quarterback instead of reverting back to Vernon Adams Jr. Montreal started the season with Adams under centre but by Week 3, Jones decided to give the starter’s role to Harris.

"Just sitting down with our coaching staff, we broke down the game, we took a look at it and we came to the conclusion that we’re going to stay status quo with Trevor,” Maciocia said. “When you take a look at the game in detail I don’t know how many quarterbacks would have been successful because (the Roughriders) clearly dominated the line of scrimmage."

Harris only has one touchdown pass this season and wants to “take responsibility” for red zone issues.

"I feel like us, as players, want to make sure to execute the plays that are there. Obviously we’re putting emphasis on scoring touchdowns, there’s no mistake about it," Harris said. “We’re taking things personal and we’re going to go out and score touchdowns. That’s the name of the game and that’s what we’re going to do."

The Elks (1-4) head to Percival Molson Stadium with their own struggles, coming off a 49-6 drubbing at home to the rival Calgary Stampeders last week.

"When you're 1-4 and you're struggling as a football team, every win is of utmost importance," Elks head coach Chris Jones said.

Jones said quarterback Taylor Cornelius will make his first start under centre.


MONTREAL ALOUETTES (1-3) VS. EDMONTON ELKS (1-4)

Thursday, Percival Molson Memorial Stadium

FORD OUT: Canadian quarterback Tre Ford has been diagnosed with a first-degree sprain of the sternoclavicular joint, linking the clavicle to the sternum. Ford sustained the injury during Edmonton's loss to Calgary and could miss up to four weeks.

ARBUCKLE DEPARTS: The Elks traded quarterback Nick Arbuckle to the Ottawa Redblacks for a 2023 fourth round pick. After starting the first three games of the season, Arbuckle had lost his starting role to Ford.

FOUCAULT RETURNS: Offensive lineman David Foucault will be making a return to Percival Molson Stadium. The LaSalle, Que., native played in 13 games for the Alouettes in the 2021 season and was released on Dec. 20.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2022.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press

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