I had the chance to speak to Charles-Andre Marchand. He's the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Montreal Alouettes, calling games in French on 98.5 FM in Montreal.
Marchand shared good stories about new Bears coach Marc Trestman. Here are some of the highlights and anecdotes:
"One way a player described him to me at one point was that if this guy was starting a sect or a cult, the players would probably follow him.
"For the media, he's not obvious to handle. He does have a certain fear of the media. He's not a guy to open to up to journalists. We had a coach in Montreal, Don Matthews, that usually enjoyed picking fights with the media and making it an us-and-against them kind of thing. Marc Trestman is not like that. Marc Trestman is a very gentle person, very nice. He's going to be very polite. Guys from TSN once said, 'Well, he'll combat you with manners.' You have coaches in the NFL that would look at the media and say, 'Shut up. We don't' give a crap.' You won't get that. You won't get a lot of answers that will make headlines, let's put it that way. But with the players, it's another story. He's a guy who is a leader. He's charismatic. The players really buy into his system. They really love it. Definitely for a quarterback, he's a great mastermind. He's going to change the offense of the Bears, that's for sure. A guy like Jay Cutler can only benefit from a guy like that. Even Anthony Calvillo of the Alouettes, who had a great career, but his career really took a new turn and a new twist with the arrival of Marc Trestman. He got to new levels because of Marc Trestman.
"He's not going to be a life of the party at the press conference.
"[Trestman is] very strict also, which is another thing about him you'll find out and the players will find out. Every detail for him counts. He's got a sense of detail that is really something. I'll give you an example. When he arrived in Montreal, he told players, 'You're playing north of the border' - and most of them are Americans, of course - and he insisted that they stand correctly during the national anthem. Often football players during the national anthem would be standing a little bit in mayhem. But he was like, 'No. No. You're going to be standing in a straight line.' ... Even to the detail of the national anthem, he is preparing his team.
"And his practices. I've covered pro sports for 33 years. I've never seen practices so well organized, so drilled. Not a minute was wasted. I've seen practices in football, hockey and soccer, you name it. I've never seen that. It was like they were practicing their practices before we could see their practice. To the most extreme detail, he will be very thorough.
"He really figured out the subtleties of Canadian football, where you can have movement before the snap. As a play-by-play guy, he was really making my life miserable because one minute I look at S.J. Green on the right side, and whoops he was hooking to the left, while [Jamel] Richardson was doing the opposite. You know those guys in New York City, who play with the nuts and shells, where you try to figure out where is the nut under the shell. That was basically the offense that Trestman was putting on the field. When he arrived five years ago, he was really taking full advantage of the motion prior to the snap that is allowed in the CFL. It became a trend and now everybody is doing it. He was really putting it to the max with complexity. Now, he has to adapt to the NFL rules, which are a bit different. But I think you can envision a strong passing game, especially with NFL going more aerial than in the past.
"He's a family guy. When he came to Montreal, he promised to his daughters that wouldn't be moving because they were staying in North Carolina. He was staying there for about six months a year because his contract he had with the Montreal Alouettes permitted it. He had made it clear to them that until they graduate from high school, they wouldn't have to move, that the days of moving around the United States were over for that time. So I'm not surprised he's making that move now because his eldest one is now in college and the youngest one, I think she's getting ready for it, but she graduated from high school. It was the right timing for him as a family guy.
"He's the only coach I've ever seen after winning a championship that would celebrate with chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk. And that is a true story. We were in Burlington, Ontario in his first season and the Alouettes had lost against the Tiger-Cats, although they were supposed to win. We were at the hotel in Burlington and we were watching the Winnipeg game. If Winnipeg loses, the Alouettes are officially champions of the division. It actually happened. Winnipeg had lost that game. We were watching it on TV and everybody is pretty happy. And Marc's big triumph and celebration was to go into the kitchen and steal two chocolate chip cookies. Well, actually he asked for them and had a glass of milk.
"He works all the time. I see him on the plane after games and it would be same thing. He'll be on the computer already preparing for the next game.
"Most players would eat up what he was bringing. I guess his biggest quality for the players is that he was not making exceptions. To give you an example, if you were to finish your breakfast before the morning meeting, whether you were the QB Anthony Calvillo or a lineman, it was the same thing, 'Put it in the garbage.' For him, respect was very important, whether it's players with players and players with staff. There were no favorites. There were no exceptions. He was very constant on what he was demanding and what he was also doing. The guy was working like crazy. He was probably the first one at the stadium in the morning and he'll be the last one out.
"His car. ... I'll be at Olympic Stadium and I don't park that far from his car. I'd see his car and it always looks like it's coming out of a car wash, even in the winter. I said, 'You know what? You make me feel bad here.' He says, 'I like a clean car.' But that's another example of the guy. His car looked like it came right out of the dealership, let alone the car wash. Notice to journalists: keep your car away from his because you'll feel bad."