New Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman finally turned up yesterday, vowing to learn the ins and outs of Canadian football.
The 51-year-old, who spent 17 years as an assistant coach and offensive co-ordinator in the NFL, was hired as the head coach of the CFL club on Dec. 18, but was unable to start his new job because of a medical crisis involving his father.
His first move with his new club was to announce that quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich was promoted to offensive co-ordinator and that Vince Martino was the new offensive line coach.
Like Trestman, Martino has never coached the 12-man game.
"It's definitely a different game," Trestman said. "It's still football. The fundamentals are the same. The rules and the field are different. I recognize that. I hope to surround myself with guys who have experience at this game. It's a beautiful, fast-paced, skill game.
"I'm excited to learn something new and, at the same time, share what I know."
A tall man with thinning dark hair, Trestman proved a confident public speaker as he addressed the media, club sponsors and executives and about a dozen of his players at a luncheon at Molson's brewery.
His first words were a short greeting in French, although he gave his speech in English.
"He's a brilliant person, a super football mind, super-dedicated to his family," said general manager Jim Popp, who made his first public appearance since he was relieved of the double duty of being head coach on Nov. 27.
"There's not too many people with his background. We were fortunate to be able to hire him."
The club surprised everyone by choosing Trestman, who served as the offensive co-ordinator with five NFL clubs and most recently worked as a consultant with the New Orleans Saints.