Standout statements from the Als’ State of the Franchise

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes held their team’s State of the Franchise address on Tuesday.

Alouettes President Mario Cecchini and General Manager Danny Maciocia joined members of the media for a video conference to answer questions about playing in 2021, how to prepare for the CFL Draft, and much more.

Here are some of the standout statements from their address:

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“It depends on where they come from. Everybody’s reality is a little bit different, whether you’re in Canada or you’re in the U.S. There’s some that do have access to gyms and there’s some that just don’t have access to gyms. What’s going to be important for us is when we distribute our programs, which are going to be position and even specific to the individual that occupies that position, that there is going to be criteria that he’s going to have to hit on a weekly basis. There’s going to be a follow up. We’re going to make sure that they’re going to be in the best possible shape that they can possibly be in. I’ve already mentioned this with our training staff here in the last little while. We don’t want to be football shape. We want to be Montreal Alouettes shape, which is a particular type of shape as far as physically and mentally being able to compete at a very high level. Normally the football games are determined within the last three minutes of a game, that’s where we’re going to be at our best. That’s when we’re going to be the freshest. Thats where physical or mental fatigue will not beat us.”

– Maciocia on keeping the players football ready

“To me, it’s very simple, we’re playing. We’re playing. There’s no doubt in my mind, we’re playing. Or else I’d be a fool to wake up at the wee hours of the morning, at 5:30/6 and talking to our scouts and having the multiple number of Zoom calls that we have on a daily basis, the number of phone calls that we’re making to agents and players. The number of meetings that we’ve had with our coaching staff. If there was one shred of a doubt, one per cent of a doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be playing, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

– Maciocia on playing in 2021

“Well that’s where the challenge lies because like all the other teams, it’s no different, we’re all in this same predicament. We’re going to have to base our evaluation, specifically on the kids in Canada, off of the 2019 film. Now that we do know there’s an opportunity for some of these kids to even maybe defer and not come out in 2021 and defer to 2022. We’re trying to find out which ones are going to defer and the ones that are coming out in 2021, how much film do we have on them to evaluate them? There’s interviews that take place with them and their respective coaches. As you heard, we’re going down to six rounds. You’re going to have two classes that are going to go to the same training camp. That’s going to be a surplus of Canadian talent. You’re looking at about 16/17 kids that are going to go to one camp. There’s going to be a bit of a logjam there but it’s up to us, (to find out) how we’re going to manage all of this. It’s going to be critical that we put a plan in place that we know that we’re going to be able to execute, not only at the draft but post-draft going into training camp.”

– Maciocia on the challenges of preparing for the CFL Draft

“For me, it goes back to science. I don’t want to be quoting things that I don’t know anything about. But the one thing I do know is that I talked to people who do know, and this morning again, another person very much involved, a doctor very much involved in the process, telling me that he was hopeful that by March even, Quebec could start vaccination. And the key is going to be how many we can do a day, on a daily basis. To me, that’s all encouraging news and that’s really the news that counts, which gives me that sense of optimism that you’re feeling right now.”

– Cecchini on staying optimistic throughout the pandemic

“That’s the question that no one wants to answer in the sense that I don’t even want to put it out there. I don’t want even the universe to be filled with that sentiment. We are, as I said, we will get there. I don’t think this will happen (not playing next year), quite frankly. Honest to God, don’t think that this will happen, there’s no reason for (not playing) to happen. We are in the process of playing and we are preparing to play. We’ll have some announcements coming up in the coming weeks as far as the team is concerned.”

– Cecchini on the possibility of not playing in 2021

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