Sports Positive COVID-19 test stuns Alouettes head coach Khari Jones
Head coach Jones returns just in time to try to fix Alouettes' troubles
We’ll never know whether Khari Jones’s presence might have made a difference to the Alouettes — and specifically quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. — last weekend, when they failed to score a touchdown in a loss to B.C. But what seems virtually certain is the Als’ head coach is the only person capable of getting the team — and, by extension, Adams — to end their inconsistent play. Jones, who tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week ago, returned to his Olympic Stadium office and practice field on Tuesday, his 10-day isolation period having ended after he produced two negative tests.
As someone who is double vaccinated, Khari Jones never anticipated a positive COVID-19 test.
Had the Alouettes’ head coach not travelled to Surrey, B.C., last week during the team’s bye in the schedule to visit family, then to Toronto, where his daughter is attending university, he wouldn’t be in isolation and preparing to watch Saturday’s game against the B.C. Lions from his apartment.
“I feel like I’m a really careful person,” Jones said Tuesday, after the teamhours earlier, although he remains asymptomatic. “No one would like to follow me around. There’s not much I do except go to the office and come home. And I walk home. I do a lot to make sure this doesn’t happen. That’s why it stunned me.
Alouettes coach Khari Jones isolating after positive COVID-19 test
Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones has tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain in isolation from the team for at least 10 days, the team announced Tuesday morning. His situation will then be re-evaluated. Since receiving the diagnosis, Jones has remained in preventive isolation at home and is feeling well. He’s asymptomatic and remains in constant contact with team doctors. The Als just finished their second, and final, bye week of the season. Players and coaches who are fully vaccinated had the option of traveling last week, and Jones admitted he’d be returning home to Surrey, B.C.
“If it happened to someone, it’s good it’s someone who doesn’t get on the field and makes plays,” Jones added.
André Bolduc, the team’s assistant head coach who also mentors the running backs, ran practice on Tuesday and will be in control Saturday. Bolduc, who has been a head coach at the university level, at Sherbrooke,. Bolduc will work in conjunction with Mike Lionello, an offensive assistant, who has CFL experience with Toronto and the Lions.
Although Adams was in close contact with Jones on Sunday, when the team resumed practice and hours before the head coach received his diagnosis, he and his teammates have continued to test negative. No one in the Als organization believes the coming game is in jeopardy.
Alouettes' defence faces strong challenge from Lions QB Reilly
The absence of head coach Khari Jones and the potential impact it might have on the Alouettes’ offence and quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. might be an obvious scenario. But it won’t be the only storyline as Montreal prepares to host the B.C. Lions Saturday (7 p.m., TSN1, TSN3, RDS, TSN Radio 690, 95.5FM) at Molson Stadium. Lions quarterback Michael Reilly was named one of the CFL’s top performers of the week after he shredded Ottawa’s defence last Saturday. The 36-year-old veteran completed 22 of 26 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns in their 45-13 victory. Reilly completed his first 11 throws and had three touchdowns by the end of the first quarter.
“I’m not too worried,” Adams said. “I just wanted to make sure Khari’s ok; make sure his health is good. He reassured us.
“I think Khari’s done a great job preparing me the last few years and this year especially. Everyone has to be prepared for any type of curve ball, trust our talents and techniques. The coaches are doing a good job, making sure we’re taking care of the little things.”
Other than fatigue and aches, Jones said he feels good. Football coaches put in long hours. That, combined with the cross-country travel and time change, led Jones to believe he was simply worn down. The only time he was around more than family last week, he added, was while travelling. Jones said his family has tested negative. He must remain quarantined at home for a minimum 10 days, then must twice test negative before being allowed to return.
Alouettes' Coté puts boots to doubters with strong start to season
There were many questions, but few answers, surrounding the Alouettes heading into a new season, especially after the 2020 CFL campaign was cancelled. The kicking game had to be near the top of that list following the departure of Boris Bede in a trade to the Toronto Argonauts. While Bede handled punting and place-kicking for the Als, the native of France was considered an import. David Côté , Montreal’s rookie placekicker, is a Quebecer, while Australian punter Joseph Zema qualifies as a global player (each team must use at least one non-North American this season).
Other than remaining away from his office and practice field, its business as usual for Jones, who’s also the Als’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was able to watch Tuesday’s practice virtually, had film review with his assistants and will conduct meetings Wednesday morning. The Lions’ game plan has been established, with only some minor tinkering anticipated before the opening kickoff.
While Jones obviously would be amenable to calling plays from home, provided the technology permitted, a CFL spokesman told the Montreal Gazette that was highly unlikely, considering the television delay and 20-second play clock — although officials at the Toronto head office are exploring the possibility.
Bolduc, for his part, made it clear the coaching staff won’t be attempting to reinvent the wheel. He’s only keeping the seat, and headset, warm until Jones returns. Following the Lions game, the Als travel to Toronto on Sept. 24.
“We work hand in hand … together daily,” Bolduc said. “I know what he wants. I’m not going to change anything. We’re not gamblers. We’re not people who are going to take high risks. I’ll just follow his footprint and be a manager of the game, the way he does. There’s not much difference between him and myself managing the game.”
Bolduc said he and Jones know each other so well that little communication between the two is required.
“Most of the time, we don’t have to talk,” he said. “We just look at each other. He knows what I want or what I think and he calls it. It’s weird. I’m here to echo his message — and the message is clear.”
Jones is the second Montreal head coach to test positive for COVID-19 after the Canadiens’missed part of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup final.
Als explode on offence, obliterate Redblacks to end losing skid .
OTTAWA — Nothing like a game against the terrible Ottawa Redblacks to cure whatever supposedly was ailing the Alouettes. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw four touchdown passes — two each to Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke — as Montreal trounced the Redblacks 51-29 Friday night before 15,000 spectators at TD Place. David Côté added three field goals for the Als, now 2-2, ending a two-game losing streak. Dominique Davis passed to Daniel Petermann for both Redblacks touchdowns, Davis adding a third himself on a short one-yard run. Lewis Ward added a pair of field goals for Ottawa, now 1-3. Linebacker Patrick Levels returned an interception 74 yards for a score.