Alouettes GM/head coach Maciocia excited about return to bench

“My role is to overlook and make sure we’re always one step ahead,” he says. “I will be in the ears of all the coordinators.”


For quarterback Trevor Harris, it will be the first time he has faced Edmonton since his trade to Montreal last season. Meanwhile, for interim head coach Danny Maciocia, it will be his first game on the sidelines since the 2019 Vanier Cup.

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Even though the Alouettes and Elks have losing records and have struggled, plotlines will be plentiful when the teams meet Thursday at Molson Stadium. (7:30 p.m., TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, TSN Radio-690).

Als general manager Maciocia inherited the interim coaching job last week after he fired Khari Jones and defensive coordinator Barron Miles with the team 1-3. Noel Thorpe replaced Miles, while quarterbacks coach Anthony Calvillo will run plays for Harris.

“I’ll probably feel the excitement (Thursday) morning when I wake up and obviously realize it’s game day and I’m back on the bench,” Maciocia said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Maciocia was a head coach and former general manager for Edmonton. Despite a losing record in both capacities, he led the Elks to the 2005 Gray Cup. He had more success during his nearly decade-long career at Université de Montréal, with two Vanier Cup appearances and a national title.

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Without having to serve as coordinator, Maciocia will have the freedom to “tabulate and rationalize situations” during the game, managing rather than directing as he watches how his players and assistants handle the game and deal with adversity.

“My role is to step up and make sure we’re always one step ahead,” Maciocia said. “I’ll be in the ears of all the coordinators, making sure they’re thinking about the next play.

“I was grateful for the work week they gave us, because it was far from the ideal week that we anticipated. They have been very professional and have worked hard.”

Harris was acquired in October after Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a season-ending broken arm. Although Adams won the starting position this season, he was replaced by Harris early in the second quarter of Game 2 in Toronto. Maciocia still believes Harris gives the Als the best chance to win.

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Harris said there is motivation for any game and he won’t treat this one any differently. And considering he was traded before the arrival of Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones, that philosophy makes sense.

“As your career progresses, you start to develop a mindset in certain games,” he said. “I think that in each game you can take things personally because of the things that have happened; teams that have beaten you in the past. There is always motivation. The moment you run out of motivation… you shouldn’t play the game. My motivation is at an all time high.”

Walter Fletcher, another former Elk, makes his first start as a running back for the Als. The 5-foot-9, 202-pounder has shown flashes of speed in limited appearances and should be given a decent workload, considering Maciocia said the Als will try to establish a running game following William Stanback’s injury earlier in the season. .

First overall pick Tyrell Richards is expected to start at middle linebacker and share time with newly acquired Micah Awe. They replace Tre Watson, who was recently released and will make his first start for Edmonton.

Taylor Cornelius will make his first start at quarterback for the Elks (1-4).

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