Roach signs with Montreal Alouettes

Published 9:07 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Brad Roach has finally found a home.
Roach, who was an all-American quarterback at Catawba College, signed Friday to play with the Montreal Alouettes, who went 12-8 and finished as the Grey Cup runners-up this year.
The 6-6, 250-pound quarterback, who is currently living in Concord and working out with some of his former Catawba teammates, signed a two-year contract with the Alouettes, who fell 22-14 to the Calgary Stampeders in the 96th Grey Cup. There is an optional third-year on the contract.
Roach, who completed 608 of 1,099 passes (55.3 percent) for 7,874 yards and 62 touchdown passes in his college career, has been looking for a team ever since leaving Catawba. He was with the Baltimore Ravens briefly before being released in training camp.
Roach had a couple other offers on the table before he decided on Montreal.
Roach was selected by Ohio in Thursday’s United National Gridiron League draft, a new eight-team league that will begin play in February, but he has opted not to participate.
Roach will report to Montreal’s camp June 1. Until then, Roach plans to work out on his own and stay in shape.
He is hoping to get the Alouettes’ playbook from head coach Marc Trestman, who lives part-time in Raleigh. Roach is anxious to play for Trestman, who was named the 2008 CFL Outstanding Coach of the Year.
Trestman spent 17 years in the NFL working as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He’s coached, among others, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Steve Young, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon.
A Catawba connection helped Roach land a tryout with the Alouettes. Jim Popp, Montreal’s general manager, resides part-time in Mooresville (N.C.). Popp’s father and brother both attended Catawba.
While the Alouettes had six quarterbacks on their roster last season, the team is expecting to keep four this year.
One of those quarterbacks may be Charlotte Independence great Chris Leak, a former Shrine Bowl teammate of Roach’s who went on to have a successful college career with the Florida Gators.
(Devone Claybrooks, who played college ball at East Carolina, is a defensive tackle on the team.)
Roach wouldn’t mind getting playing time right away, but he also wouldn’t mind having some time to learn the system.
Along with learning a new system, Roach will have to learn the nuances of CFL play. The field is 110 yards long instead of the 100 he’s used to playing. The field is wider, the goalposts are located on the goal line instead of the end line, there are 12 players on each side of the ball instead of 11, teams have three downs instead of four to get a first down and all offensive backfield players may be in motion.
Roach will also have to get used to playing in some cold and possibly wintry conditions, but he’s not worried about that.
Roach is anxious to get his professional career started.