The 26-year-old saw his first action as an Alouette on Saturday when starter Drew Willy was injured in the third quarter of a 23-17 victory in Saskatchewan.
Coach Mike Sherman said Tuesday that Willy’s condition, which he called a stinger to the neck or shoulder, will be evaluated day to day. In his absence, Mathews worked with the first team to be ready to start.
“You’ve got to come in and do what you can help our team win a ballgame,” said Mathews. “You always prepare that way (to start), especially in these circumstances.
“You’ve just got to play football. You can’t be worried about the moment. You’ve got to run your plays, execute them and get the ball to the guys who make the real plays, and that’s our receiver group, our backs. It’s not the hardest job in the world. You just have to make sure you get the ball to the right people and they’ll do the work.”
Mathews joined the Alouettes on June 12, just before the start of the regular season and a month after he was cut by the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts. Toronto is now using backup James Franklin after starter Ricky Ray suffered a possibly season-ending neck injury.
Mathews’ last CFL start came for Toronto last Aug. 11 against the Alouettes, when Ray sat out with a minor injury. Mathews struggled, completing eight of 12 passes for 67 yards before he was replaced for the second half by Cody Fajardo.
Montreal’s 21-9 victory that day was its last until the win in Saskatchewan, which snapped a 13-game losing streak over two seasons.
Mathews hopes it goes better for his next chance.
“It’s part of the process of being a football player,” said the former Ivy League star with Cornell, who broke into the CFL with Hamilton in 2015.
“I wasn’t on a roster. I was out in Montana working and fishing and I’m here three weeks later. It’s a pretty crazy game. You’re up, you’re down. To get an opportunity would be awesome. It’s something I’d look forward to.
“You’ve got to live in the moment. I know that gets over-used a ton, but I was really focused on that game. I thought we were going to be really successful. We weren’t and now, going into this week, I’m not really worried about what happened then. I’m more focused on how can I make this successful, for the team to get a win.”
Against the Roughriders, Mathews went eight-for-12 for 98 yards.
Another recent acquisition, Vernon Adams, is preparing to back up Mathews against Ottawa on Friday night. Adams returned for a second stint in Montreal last week after he was cut by Hamilton.
“I’m just here to learn from these guys and help in any way I can,” said Adams. “If it’s my shot, I’ll be ready.”