I generally go to bed late and get up late…noonish. But something was percolating in the back of my mind all night…woke me up around 5AM. Jacques Chapdelaine promised he’d reveal how the Alouettes coaching structure would change under his rule. That meant we’d soon know what he’d do about Anthony Calvillo. Who will be calling the plays?
Sure enough, even at this early hour it was all over the news: Jacques Chapdelaine Takes Over Playcalling Duties From Anthony Calvillo.
Time to crow!!!
With the decision to take over play calling duties for the Alouettes, Chapdelaine has effectively ended a brutally awkward, and spectacularly unsuccessful chapter in this storied franchise’s history. May we ALL get down on our knees, the deeply religious, omni-theists, agnostics and atheists alike…and PRAY we’ve seen the last of Jim Popp as “coach”.
The insult to the LONG, unbroken CFL tradition of coaches passing their knowledge and wisdom down to successive generations…the casual thumbing of noses that was the ascension of Anthony Calvillo, from the relatively “peripheral” responsibilities of a receivers coach to arguably the second most important position on this football team…with NO consideration given to qualification OR experience…is an experiment that has FINALLY come to it’s inevitable and ignominious END.* Hallelujah!
But as reports come in from Alouettes practise at Stade Hebert (where I’d doubtless be if it weren’t for this shoulder thing) and words like “structured” and “accountability” and “respect” are suddenly gaining a foothold, it’s worth pointing out one further “perk” of the Chapdelaine appointment.
Arguably, the Poppvillo era represented a fractured break from the “oral tradition” of passing knowledge through successive generations of CFL coaches on and “through” this team. If so, perhaps Jacques Chapdelaine represents a restoration of that noble tradition. After all, Chapdelaine’s first instinct is to ask himself what Wally Buono would do. Buono can arguably be said to have learned his trade, in part, in his years as a linebacker and punter for the Montreal Alouettes.
Pasquale “Wally” Buono played ten seasons with the Als in the 1970’s. Buono won 2 Grey Cups with the Alouettes under Head Coach Marv Levy, in 1974 and 1977. And while as so often happens, Levy operated as an NFL “clone” juxtaposing American football philosophies onto the Canadian game, THAT very lesson about the elasticity and trans-absorbative nature of the two cousin gridiron sports is a lesson I’m sure Buono has put to good use to this day.
It’s funny…I attended several of those Alouettes games at the Autostade as a child…must have seen Levy, Buono and the Alouettes on a number of occassions with my Dad.
The knowledge Buono accumulated under successive coaches, and then during his 23 year coaching career has in part been passed on to Chapdelaine…his offensive coordinator for several years and two different stints.
Only time will tell if the Chapdelaine appointment will work some late season magic on the field.
But after multiple, successive seasons of chaos and dysfunction…a return to order can ONLY be assisted by a restoration, even if only a PARTIAL restoration, of the Alouettes coaching tradition.
*On a conciliatory note, while AC himself admits he considered quitting altogether and going home, it MAY be time for him to consider the folly of accepting a plan that had him as offensive coordinator in the first few weeks into his coaching career, and then Head Coach a year after that. The very fact that he thought any such thing was plausible raises questions about his competence, knowledge, and quite frankly his intelligence. On second thought…NOT as conciliatory as I planned.