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Kabion Ento on Defending Against Zach Collaros, Transitioning to the Canadian Game

1 on 1 interview with Montreal Alouettes cornerback, Kabion Ento. Conducted Saturday at Tim Hortons Field ahead of Grey Cup Sunday.

So coming into this game Montreal has had a tremendous game against the pass. They were the lowest yards allowed per attempt. Now going against Winnipeg with Zach Collaros, does Montreal take any kind of assurance in the fact that he’s been under 200 yards passing in the last 3 playoff games, or is it more so just, approaching the moment and just embracing the current game rather than looking in the past?

“We try to understand that, you know, past success doesn’t determine future success. So, I mean, I didn’t know his previous yards before that, and that’s not something I try to worry about. We try to focus on what we have and, like I said, being assignment-sound and just making sure that we’re doing our job. And, I mean, if we feel like we do that, we’re gonna have good chances. So, we can’t worry about the past.”

“I know they’ve been to the Grey Cup 4 times. This is my first time, but I can guarantee you nobody on that field is gonna care about that. Nobody on the field is gonna care about last week, what they ate for breakfast. Everybody’s gonna be worried about now, the here.”

And with Dalton Schoen being a game-time decision. Does that change your approach coming into the game at all, or is it just, you can’t really worry about that because it’s just a distraction at that point?

“I can’t. Honestly, I just have to worry about, what I can control. And all I can control is my attitude, my effort, my alignment, my assignment. I can’t even control a lot of time, probably the calls that are coming in from the coach. All I worry about is the job that I need to do. I know they have weapons. I didn’t know like, you’re giving me information that I didn’t even know right now, and I try not to worry about it. Like I said, I try to worry about my job and what I’m supposed to do.”

I noticed a couple times throughout the season, Winnipeg has had a lot of success with simple crossing routes. There’d be a moment where there’d be a miscommunication on defense, where the communication is not quick enough, and a receiver gets open because there’s not a switch off in time or a guy switches off when he shouldn’t. Could you kind of elaborate on the importance, as a defensive back, on good quick communication?

“Definitely. Pre-snap communication as far as post-snap communication as well. It’s always a big factor. Tto be honest, that’s how you see a lot of the best secondaries work. It’s a lot of communication going on, understanding that, you know, if you have to pass off a route to somebody that you not only have to expect them to be there, but you gotta make sure that you deliver that route to them. “

“You know, how you as a I say, a UPS worker. They don’t just stop at the location and then throw the package out to the door. They take it to the door, probably take it to your next teammate if need be. But everybody has a job. And a lot of times, you know, as a defense, you work on the string. That’s what I say. Everybody’s working on the same string. And you want that string tight. You want that string together. You don’t want loops, crosses, and everything. And that’s what communication is.”

“The better you communicate, the easier everybody’s job is.”

Heading into the season, it seemed like a lot of the media was overly fixated on some of the pieces leaving Montreal, and they weren’t paying attention to some of the pieces coming into Montreal like yourself. And so Montreal’s then basically been proving people wrong all year. How have you embraced the underdog mentality that seems to be being embraced by the rest of the team?

“Of course, it always feels good to kinda be the underdog because, you know, that means nobody expects you to win. We have embraced it. Personally, I feel like the whole locker room, we don’t feel like underdogs. We know what a lot of times the outside noise is. Like you said, they talked about leaving pieces. Like me, I didn’t know what pieces left, and I barely knew the pieces that came in at the beginning of the year. It’s my first year here. And so I think we all just came together and just decided that we’re gonna prove ourselves right, and we’ll just try to prove everybody else wrong.”

How would you describe kind of adjusting to the 3 down game and and playing against the waggle the first time?

“It’s totally different. The 3 downs because you understand that the play is so fast, you think you’ll be able to sit down and get a quick breather, and your offense gets a 2 and out. And then we get up, get a 2 and out, sometimes it’s a long drive. So it’s a lot different.”

“You know, I’m not used to it, well, now I am, but I’m not used to hearing punting. We punt the ball on 3rd down. You know, where’s the punt team? On 2nd down, you know, they’re making alerts on the sideline. You’re like, oh my gosh. Like, I just got to the sideline. And so that’s totally, it changes the pace of the game, honestly.”

“It makes special teams a lot more valuable. People don’t understand that, special teams is on the field just as much as your offense, just as much as your defense.”

“And then the waggle is totally different. You see everybody moving before the line of scrimmage. And when you first get up here, it can kind of plays with your eyes, especially if you’re trying to see the big picture. But a lot of times you try to see a lot, you see a little. That’s a quote that many of my coaches have told me.”

“And so just trying to understand that, you know, that’s why they do all the waggles to mess with your eyes. But you have to remember your job. You have to be able to, like you said, communicate with others. And once you do that, the game will slow down. And there’s other scenarios in the game that you go out and understand why people are waggling, what’s gonna go on. A lot of times, people waggling, they still run the same type of concept that they run, but it was a lot.”

“And, it’s, you know, it’s still a lot that I’m learning. I wouldn’t just sit here and tell you that I’m a vet, and I can dissect the waggle a hundred percent, but just a lot. And I enjoy it as a different part of the game than I usually did playing in the States. And that’s what I enjoy, is the the game is a little different. It’s still football at the end of the day, but the game is a little different. And like I said, I enjoy just doing that every day.”

How are you preparing for the game mentally? Because you’ve come in as a rookie. You’ve kind of been thrown in early in the season during injuries, and you’ve done really a fantastic job as a cornerback, as a rookie. How are you preparing for the game mentally, now coming in for one last game with the Grey Cup?

“I feel like I’m doing well. I just try to slow everything down. Of course, the more you play, the slower the game gets for you. You can understand a little more. You understand what’s going on. But I just try to, listen to my leaders in the secondary, in the locker room. Believe what they’re saying, listen to my coaches watch film. And just try to find ways to, you know, make myself a little bit more comfortable. And I don’t know, because I’m more chill, relaxed, and that’s how I like to be I like to be cool, calm, and collected. And the guys I have around me have allowed me to be able to continue to be that. I’m not one of those guys who always, on the team, who always used to yell or or anything. You know, if I ask a question, they don’t make me feel, like, stupid. Like, oh, that’s a stupid question. So, mentally, everything’s really good. Like I said, when you have a good group of guys around you that makes it a lot easier.”

Is there any particular moment that’s been maybe a favorite moment hanging out with your team this week?

“My favorite moment this week, hanging out with my team. It’s probably, it’s a little similar to when we’d be back in Montreal. Just kinda, I mean, people after the game is over, people miss it, but just sitting in the locker room. Chatting with your friends, chatting with your guys. I know this week we played a little cards.The schedule this week is hectic, but it’s always good just to be around guys. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in a hotel. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in a locker room. Just being around each other, because you get to know these guys. These guys turn into your brothers. These are relationships that will be built forever.”

“So my favorite, like, my favorite memory is, man, this week, I don’t even know. Just all of it being around and being able to come out here together again, having another week to play football, like, just being around the guys in general. I haven’t been to any events either, so I can’t tell you that I’ve been to any events to just remember.”

Kind of a sidebar question, I attended a tryout for the Elks, and I noticed, it’s a bunch of defensive backs going up against the waggle for the 1st time in their career. And everyone was just running press, and everyone was kinda holding a little bit, but a lot hard press. This is their 1st time against the waggle. What are your thoughts on the effectiveness of the press against the waggle?

“To be honest, It’s all about technique, you know. Whether you’re playing off or you’re playing up pressing the waggle, you have to make sure that, to be honest, your feet have to be amazing. Because, you know, people are waggling from 10, 15 yards away. It’s definitely 10 yards away. And that’s how they hit the line of scrimmage at full speed. And so you just have to make sure that your feet is right and your eyes are right.”

“I can’t sit here and say that I wouldn’t press against the waggle. Because, I mean, it’s something that I would try, probably something that, I’ll be doing that, you know probably tomorrow, and later in my career, but it’s difficult. But as long as your eyes and your feet are right, then to be honest, as a DB, you’ll win most plays.”

Other Interviews ahead of the Grey Cup:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
: K Sergio Castillo, DE Willie Jefferson, QB Dakota Prukop, RB Brady Oliveira
Montreal Alouettes: LB Tyrice Beverette, LB Reggie Stubblefield, DT Mustafa Johnson, K David Côté, DE Shawn Lemon, CB Kabion Ento

Reading Suggestions:
How Montreal Can Beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup: Eight Keys to Victory
CFL Western Final Film Takeaways
CFL Eastern Final Film Takeaways
Other Articles:
BC Lions’ Tibo Debaillie Interview Ahead of West Division Finals
Reflecting on the CFL West Semi-Finals
Alouettes’ Jeshrun Antwi Interview Ahead of East Finals
East Semi-Finals Reflections
Alouettes’ Reggie Stubblefield Interview Ahead of East Semi-Finals
BC Lions’ Tibo Debaillie Ahead of CFL West Semi-Finals
Predicting the Rest of the CFL Season
CFL 2nd Period All-Star Team (Weeks 8-14)
CFL Midseason All-Star Team, Awards
First Period CFL and Divisional All-Stars
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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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