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September 11, 2018

French Connection Eyeing Home Cooking And Another W

David Foucault holding court during a pre-season victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 8th/2018. Photo: David Frederich.

For many who have done the CFL travel circuit, Montreal takes the cake. Pretty, vibrant, a little history and a stadium with likely the most scenic background you can find on the campus of McGill University.

When it comes to the players, a trip to ‘La Belle Province’ can also represent a homecoming. The Leos’ “French Connection” consists of David Foucault, Junior Luke, Frederic Chagnon and David Menard. The entire quartet played University football for the Montreal Carabins and all but Menard, who hails from Chicoutimi, grew up in the city. Aside from having to scrounge up extra tickets for family and friends, a quick visit home is often a big highlight over the course of a long grind.

“Only just six, but those are for my family. I have about 30 more coming and they have the money so I told them if they want to see me they can buy them,” chuckled Foucault after Tuesday’s practice.

“Playing in front of my friends and family is a huge thing for me.”

Added Luke: “I’m excited. It’s going to be fun going back home, playing in front of friends and family and just show that I can play. It doesn’t change. Whether I play here, Montreal or Calgary, any place. I still gotta perform.”

David Foucault holding court during a pre-season victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 8th/2018. Photo: David Friederich.

 

It is indeed a business trip. The 4-6-0 Lions need more victories, especially away from BC Place; to keep pace in this dogfight they call the Western Division playoff race. But with a couple hours of downtime always part of the routine, Foucault and his pals can always escape for a little poutine or whatever the home-cooking will bring.

“It will be a big dinner with all my family together,” said Foucault.

“I always want to see my parents, girlfriend and brother. My mom is a good cook. She asked me yesterday what I wanted and I told her it didn’t matter because she never disappoints.”

Peter and Andree FoucaultĀ are no doubt proud of what their son has accomplished this season. After arriving in a trade from the Alouettes prior to 2017 training camp, Foucault had somewhat of a difficultĀ transition back to Canadian football after his stint with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Thanks to hard work and a dedicated training program led by his girlfriend and pro golfer Caroline Ciot, the 6’7 Foucault put on 15 pounds of muscle and emerged as one of the pleasant training camp surprises when he emerged as the starting right guard. Now he and the offensive linemen are looking to establish that newfound consistency until the end of this season…. whenever that may be.

“We’re working hard every week with (offensive line) coach Dan (Dorazio) to give us a lot of keys,” said the 2014 first round pick.

“With all of the changes, we have a good group. It’s very fun to play with those guys and we’re all tough. Every week we have to bring that on the field and it’s just nice that we’ve continued to get better. We do everything together so that’s fun too.”

Foucault and his three French Canadian teammates all share a house near the Surrey practice facility during the season and that has helped each of them, especially the younger ones in Foucault, Luke and Chagnon adjust to the pro lifestyle out west.

“The transition was really hard for me because I had never experienced being alone or with other people I didn’t know,” said Luke.

“I had been living with my mom since forever, I guess. Living with Foucault, Chagnon, Menard and even Charles (Vaillancourt) from last year, it’s easy for me to adjust.”

It also helps that Chagnon has established himself as one of the more valuable members of the most important household tasks.

“Freddy is a really good cook and I help him a lot,” explained Foucault.

“We all do stuff together, it’s nice to live there and to be able to just speak French sometimes. It’s fun to be in Canada and have a French connection like this. They try to copy us a little bit too,” added Foucault with a laugh.

And if they can get a win in front of their friends and loved ones, the long flight back to their football home will be more enjoyable. But they know it won’t be easy on either side of the ball, despite what the Alouettes’ 3-8-0 record indicates. Luke is looking forward to facing quarterback Antonio Pipkin for the first time.

“He looks like Cam Newton a little bit. He can stay in the pocket, but he has the ability to run,” said the second-year defensive tackle.

“We’re going to have to contain him, play smart in second and long and keep him in the pocket.”

You never know. If they perform well maybe they’ll get some poutine for the return west.

Matt Baker: mbaker@bclions.com