October 14, 2017

Hogan: Trestman never stops learning

Toronto Argonauts head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady of the Toronto Argonauts after the win at against the Edmonton Eskimos at BMO Field in Toronto, ON, Saturday, September 16, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

There’s an old axiom that says if you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind.

Argo Head Coach Marc Trestman is someone who appears to adhere to that philosophy. He’s someone who seems to genuinely enjoy the teaching aspect of the game, something much appreciated by his players.

The teacher is also always willing to soak up information.

“You’re always learning, that’s the beauty of this game,” said Trestman. “When you have the multiple variables that you have, offensively, defensively, locker room, player issues, transformational issues with people and coaches, you’re always going to learn something.”

Trestman left Montreal and had NFL experiences as the head coach of the Chicago Bears and the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens before heading back north.

When asked what he thinks he learned from his stint in the U.S. before returning back to Canada this year, the coach wasn’t quite sure.

“Nothing specific,” admitted the coach. “I’m sure there are things that have come up over the last four or five years that have allowed me to do maybe a better job in some ways from things that I’ve learned along the way.”

Sometimes the toughest person for a teacher to grade is the teacher himself, so maybe it’s best to examine Trestman through the eyes of someone who worked with him previously.

S.J. Green qualifies to do that.

Green played four seasons with Trestman in Montreal and has now been able to observe him in two different situations. When Argonauts.ca asked the receiver if there’s a noticeable difference in his coach since his return, Green responded by questioning the questioner.

“Did he tell you to ask me that?” asked a suddenly curious receiver. “He’s been trying to pull that out of me all season. He’s been asking me ‘How am I different? Is a good thing or a bad thing?’”

Green then got a little more serious when talking about his coach.

“He is slightly different in ways, but I think they’re all for the better,” explained the 11-year veteran. “Not so much personality traits or character traits that have changed, but just little nuances.”

Green explained one thing that’s tangibly different about Trestman’s rules, and it’s about the Argos dress code.

“At practice, everybody has to have on blue tights,” said Green. “Can’t wear white tights, can’t wear baby blue tights, got to have on blue tights. His logic behind it is you’re going to dress in practice how you dress in a game because we’re playing the game every day. So we practice the way we want to play.”

With the Alouettes, Green and his teammates could just do their own thing in that regard, which he says is more his style, but the receiver accepts and respects Trestman’s sartorial decision because in his words, “It brings us together like we’re all one unit and it just looks good.”

Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady also spent a significant amount of time with his head coach in Montreal. He was his receivers coach for three years before being promoted to OC in Trestman’s final year with the Als.

He says Trestman has indeed made some changes to his game.

“The message is still the same,” said Brady. “He’s grown since then. He’s brought some of his stuff that he’s learned over the few years down in Baltimore and Chicago. We’ve combined it with what we’ve done here and had success with.”

The Argonauts have been a fun team to watch improve. The offensive playbook has essentially been intact since day one, though there are new wrinkles added every week.

Is the head coach pleased with what he sees from his offence at this stage?

“I’m not happy enough,” said Trestman. “I think we still can be better. We’ll never reach the level of standard that we really want, but we’re trying to get there. We think we’re good, we don’t think we’re past good yet. We want to be great, and great means you have to be more consistent.”

Marc Trestman striving for perfection. Some things about him haven’t changed at all, and the Argos are thankful for that.