HAMILTON — The education of Bob Slowik continues Friday when the Alouettes visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7:30 p.m., TSN1, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).Slowik has extensive experience coaching in the NFL and the U.S. college ranks, but he’s a novice when it comes to Canadian football. The Alouettes’ defensive coordinator spent months during the off-season getting up to speed on the game, but said that there was a surprise when the Alouettes dropped their season opener in Edmonton two weeks ago.“The biggest adjustment for me was how quickly you go from one series to another,” Slowik noted. “If there are any adjustments, you have to make them rapidly. That’s something I have to grow into and get better at that.”
Montreal Alouettes’ Greg Reid knocks Ottawa Redblacks receiver Greg Morris off his feet during preseason game in Montreal on June 6, 2019.
John Mahoney /
Slowik had to deal with another of the peculiarities of the Canadian game as he prepared for Hamilton (2-0). Two of his key defensive players — linebacker Bo Lokombo and safety Taylor Loffler — were injured in the Edmonton game. It was a major blow because both players are Canadians and Slowik had to fiddle with the CFL ratio, which requires teams to start at least seven national players.“Usually, when you have an injury, you go to the next guy up, but you can’t do that,” said Slowik.The most significant loss is that of Loffler. He’s a three-time CFL all-star and he’s the kind of player you need as the line of last defence against Hamilton. While Trevor Harris relied on short passing routes to shred the Montreal defence, Ticats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is more likely to look for his deep receivers. Loffler’s position will be filled by Ty Cranston, a second-year player from Ottawa University.The defence is also missing defensive-back Marcus Cromartie. He returned to practice Wednesday after missing some time with what were described as “some minor issues” but his spot will be filled by Greg Reid.The big question mark will be at right defensive end, where Montreal native Jean-Samuel Blanc will make a rare start. The Université de Montréal grad has been a staple of special teams since 2015.“I like his motor,” said head coach Khari Jones. “He’s one of those guys I’ve noticed in practice.”There was some good news on the injury front. Offensive-tackle Tyler Johnstone will make his first start since the opening game of the 2018 season. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in that game. The Alouettes have been giving him time off from practice, but he’s ready to firstname.lastname@example.org/zababes1Related