Austin Mack, the best receiver in the Canadian Football League this season, missed a second practice in a row on Thursday as the Montreal Alouettes look to confirm their place in the playoffs on Saturday against the Rouge et Noir of Ottawa.
Mack is bothered by a thigh injury. He has often been the target of the opposition this season, with good reason. The 26-year-old rookie leads the Ambrosie circuit with 1,057 yards of aerial gains and 4 touchdowns on 70 passes caught in 14 games.
The football player from Fort Wayne, Indiana, however, should be in uniform, according to head coach Jason Maas.
“That’s what I hope,” he said near the Olympic Stadium. That’s kind of what he’s done over the last five weeks and he’s always been able to play. We gave him the rest we felt he needed. »
Young Canadian receiver Shedler Fervius took advantage of Mack’s absence to join the first unit for a few reps.
Mack isn’t the only one who took advantage of extra days off. Receiver and kick return specialist Chandler Worthy and defensive back Kordell Rodgers also missed a second consecutive practice. Offensive lineman Philippe Gagnon was also held out Thursday, after taking part in Wednesday’s session.
“All these guys needed a little more time to get their heads together after Saturday’s hard-fought game,” Maas added. We will also wait until the last moment for these players. There is a reason why we are allowed to wait until a few minutes before the meeting. This is a rule that we will use.
“Right now, we’re hoping that all of these players will be ready to play on Saturday. But we have resources to replace them if necessary. »
James Letcher Jr. notably replaced Worthy on kick returns Thursday.
The Alouettes (7-7) will try to confirm their participation in the CFL playoffs by visiting the Rouge et Noir (4-10). Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.
Lwal Uguak is taking up more and more space in Noel Thorpe’s defense. The performance of the Alouettes’ number 96, first round pick, seventh overall, in the last draft, is so up that it led – in part, at least – to the release of Jamal Davis II earlier this week.
“Coming back to Canada and acclimating to Canadian football took up most of my time at training camp. I received a lot of support from Coach Corvey [Irvin, the defensive line coach],” said the man who played his college football at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Taking reps is the only way to relearn this system,” Uguak added. It didn’t take very long to find a comfort zone. »
The Canadian forced the hand of Alouettes management so much that they changed their ratio of Canadian/American starters, another element that contributed to the reduction in Davis’ playing time, who ultimately asked general manager Danny Maciocia to release him. of his contract.
“I take my hat off to JD, who always gave everything he had for us,” Irvin said. But in football, your place is guaranteed until someone else takes it from you and in Lwal’s case, he’s a star in the making. »
Uguak took reps as a right side defensive end on the first unit defense this week. A position that he should occupy more and more often.