MONTREAL -- Trent Guy remains a work in progress, but at least the Montreal Alouettes' kick returner has an electrifying touchdown on the books to take into the rest of the CFL season.
Guy was named special teams player of the week on Tuesday for his team-record 129-yard TD return of Swayze Waters' missed field goal in the third quarter of Montreal's 31-10 win over the Toronto Argonauts on the weekend.
Earlier in the game, the 25-year-old scored his first CFL touchdown on a nine-yard screen pass from Anthony Calvillo.
"A lot of my family and friends have been calling, a lot of people from Louisville (University) have called me," a smiling Guy said. "It's a great honour, but I'm not getting complacent. I know I'm going to have to keep working hard."
Special teams has been a sore spot for the 8-4 Alouettes all season, with long returns against and little to show for when returning kicks of their own. But there are signs of improvement.
They held Toronto's Chad Owens, the league leader in all-purpose yards, to 38 yards on four punts, with none longer than 13 yards. And Owens got 87 yards on five kickoff returns, with the longest a relatively modest 21 yards.
But take away Guy's one big return and Montreal is still not getting the yards it wants from its own return game. Guy had only a total of five yards on four punt returns.
Special teams co-ordinator Andy Bischoff likes Guy's potential, but said he needs to catch the ball more and run forward. Twice against Toronto, he let balls drop and one of them rolled several yards behind him.
"It's as simple as catching the football," said Bischoff. "The two that were not fielded, one was because of the sun.
"The other, Swayze Waters is kicking from the end zone with the wind at his back and he's a 45-yard average kicker. With the wind you'd think he'd kick it 50. He plopped it out at 32 yards and we would have loved for Trent to field that ball. If he catches it on the 44, we're probably sitting on the 35 easily. We lose 30 yards of position because we don't catch the football."
Waters' third-quarter kick travelled 64 yards.
Guy could also help himself by tying up and tucking in his dreadlocks. He said he was taken down three times by the hair, which is perfectly legal in the CFL and the NFL. He finally tied it up for the second half.
But Bischoff feels the five-foot-eight Guy, a wide receiver who has been primarily a kick returner since high school, can become a first-rate return man.
"We've always felt that he was a guy who could be a difference maker," the coach said. "Unfortunately he's had to battle through some injuries this year, but you saw that spark in him from training camp.
"We felt if we could block for him, we'd give him a chance. He did a great job in the game."
It was a big game for both Guy and Victor Anderson, who shone while replacing star tailback Brandon Whitaker with two touchdowns of his own. Guy and Anderson were teammates for three years at Louisville before turning pro.
Guy nearly didn't make it that far.
In 2008, he was shot in the back outside a Louisville bar after an altercation with a man who groped his fiancee. The then 20-year-old needed surgery to remove the bullet, which luckily did not hit his spine or any vital organs.
"It's a blessing. for me not only to be alive but to still be playing football," he said. "I thank God for everything."
The Alouettes spent Tuesday in meetings to prepare to visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night and one message head coach Marc Trestman delivered had to do with Guy and Anderson.
"I told the players in this game we had four touchdowns scored by guys who were not even a gleam in our eye at the start of the season," said Trestman. "That's a great lesson for any young player.
"We have guys on our practice squad and our reserve that may think they're out of the loop but they're not. They have to be ready because in a moment, they'll be on the field helping us."
Against the Ticats, the Alouettes special teams have another challenge in stopping Chris Williams, who has five punt return TDs this season.
The Alouettes will be without defensive tackle Ventrelle Jenkins and probably defensive back Seth Williams.
Jenkins has a bruised knee and will be out one or two weeks while Williams is doubtful to play due to a concussion.
They already have a replacement for Williams as veteran Billy Parker is set to return from an injury. Trestman said newcomer Scooter Berry and possibly Chima Ihekwoaba would be dressed to play the defensive line.