Eskimos in hostile environment

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Percival Molson Stadium is fan-friendly if you're the hometown Montreal Alouettes.

For visiting clubs it's the Madhouse on Mount Royal. With 20,000-plus screaming fans, there isn't a more hostile environment in the CFL.

"Even though it only seats 20,000, I'm telling you it sure feels like you've got 45,000 or 50,000," said Esks rookie head coach Danny Maciocia, who cut his coaching teeth in the Alouettes organization.

"And you feel like they're on the bench with you because they're so close to the playing field. The silent count plays a significant part in what you're trying to do.

"Obviously, they don't function with the silent count because they're playing at home. The crowd is definitely quiet when they take the field offensively."

After blowing a 23-point lead and dropping an overtime decision to the Ottawa Renegades, Don Matthews' Alouettes are 1-1-0 on the season.

The Als sporting a .500 record two weeks into the season is virtually unheard of since the Canadian Football League returned to Montreal in 1996.

"Montreal usually comes out hot in the summer," said Esks cornerback Davis Sanchez, one of seven former Als on Edmonton's roster this season. Any team can beat any team in this league.

"It's cliche but it's true. It's exciting for us to knock a good team off and put them into a losing record and keep what we got going, going."

BACK IN THE SADDLE?: Offensive lineman Kevin Lefsrud was back practising yesterday.

Lefsrud suffered strained knee ligament in the Esks season opener and sat out last week's contest in Winnipeg. Maciocia said Lefsrud's status for Friday's game would be re-evaluated following yesterday's practice.

However, all indications are Lefsrud will line up at centre, Glen Carson remains in the right guard spot while Chris Morris should be back in his right tackle spot this week.

Look for offensive lineman Patrick Kabongo and fullback Mike Maurer to draw the short straws this week.


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