Dec. 18, 2008

NCAA Football Championship Subdivision
National Championship Game
Practice Day Press Conference
Dec. 18, 2008
Finley Stadium – Chattanooga, Tenn.

Richmond Head Coach Mike London
Opening Statement:

“On behalf of the University of Richmond, President (Edward) Ayers and athletic director Jim Miller, it is an honor to represent the city of Richmond and the state of Virginia in this contest.  Two great teams…Montana is an excellent, excellent team and very well coached.  Very formidable opponent.”

“We are excited about being here. The city of Chattanooga has been extremely gracious to us and we appreciate all of the hospitality.”

“We are ready to play football now.  We get a chance to practice here in a little bit and then meet a little bit.  Tomorrow we will let the kick-off begin.”¬

On the hospitality this week while in Chattanooga:
“Chattanooga has been an incredible host thus far. It’s a great city. The players had a chance this week to do some great things, with building a house for Habitat for Humanity, to visiting the aquarium. We got to expose our players to the community. Now however, we are ready to get to football things. With the culmination of this press conference, it is time to get strictly down to football. We came ready to play.”

On the field and conditions:
“The field is very similar to ours and some of the teams in our conference. It looks like a great venue and the facility appears to be well kept. It should be a great atmosphere for football.”

On the hype of game and the concern about how it will affect the players:
“It shouldn’t be a concern. The players have had some down time to get well rested. We are now ready to win a football game. The adrenaline will be pumping in the morning, but we should be ready to play come tomorrow night.”

On the high number of takeaways this season:
“From the beginning of the season we have talked about creating turnovers. They give the offense a chance to score and can help you change a game, even if it means just eating up clock. Turnovers were key in the App State game. With us the turnovers go hand in hand with our ability to rush the quarterback and break on the ball.”

On the transition as a first year coach:
“First it is an honor and a blessing to be around these players and coaches. They are true student-athletes in every sense of the word. I like to coach with passion and provide energy to help motivate the players. It is exciting to be at my alma mater and be able to be a part of these sorts of things. To be in the championship game, you can’t ask for much more than a win.”

On how last week’s game may have affected your team:
“It provided a level of confidence that needs to be there to have a chance to win. We had no timeouts and had to move the ball to win the game. We were able to catch the ball and convert on fourth downs. Leadership was definitely shown.”

On managing academics in the playoffs:
“Richmond is such a great academic school first and foremost. I have to give credit to the university administration and professors for helping out our players. We traveled with an academic advisor on the road with us. It can be managed if you have a commitment from the university and the players. These players have represented the university well.”

On the pressure going into the season as a first year head coach knowing how this team did last season:
“No pressure when you love football and love to compete like I do. When you have the players you can tell that there is a good nucleus for something special. Before the season I met with the team captains to determine goals. We knew that Richmond is a winner year to year with four CAA titles under our belts. However, we wanted to focus on what this year’s team could do and what we could accomplish. The team identity is definitely energy and passion.”

On how the title game compares to a bowl game:
“It compares very similar. We came in Tuesday night for this game rather than a week like a bowl game. But the city has been very hospitable.”

On playing best football of the season…Playoffs or bowls:
“I obviously prefer this situation when you are playing in it. Players liked the bowls because of some of the gear you get but I think the playoffs determine who the best team in the country is.”

On playing in a national title game:
“It is no different as any other game when we are preparing. We need to keep our emotions in check. We don’t want to get distracted with the atmosphere and we want to focus on what is happening between the white lines.”

After the slow start what was the turning point for this team:
“I looked to the captains after the last loss and we determined what we wanted to do with this season. They had a player’s only meeting. We realized we could still meet our goals even though the CAA title wasn’t a possibility.”

On the warmer than normal temperature:
“The temperature shouldn’t make a difference. If we concentrate on what happens between the lines then we should be fine. I’m sure Montana isn’t worried about the weather and we shouldn’t either.”

On the CAA as a conference:
“We think the CAA schedule prepares us for the playoffs. The CAA South is one of the toughest in the country, with teams like JMU, Villanova and William and Mary.”

Lawrence Sidbury – Senior - DL
On the challenge of going up against Montana’s big offensive line:

“Their offensive line is pretty big, probably the biggest one we have gone up against this season. Coming into Friday’s game though, we aren’t going to do anything different from what we have done all season. We are going to come off the ball hard, low, and we will try to get off blocks.”

On how this team is able to cause so many turnovers:
“One of our big focus points in practice is trying to force turnovers. You see it all the time in football that there is a direct correlation between turnovers and the team that ends up winning the game. On defense we want to get off the field and give our offense a chance to score and put us in a position to win the game, so that is something we pride ourselves in.”

Patrick Weldon – Sophomore - LB
On the challenge of going up against Montana’s big offensive line:
“Obviously their offensive line is very big, but one thing about them is that they move very well, which makes them even better. They are very quick off the ball and are able to get to the next level quick, so we are going to need to stay fundamental and attack them to be successful.”

On the emotion that there will be Friday night:
“We try to take the same approach for every game we play. We go into every game with the mindset that this could be the last game we are playing, so this will not be that much of a transition for us from that standpoint.”

Eric Ward – Junior - QB
On facing defenses similar to Montana’s this season:
“I can not really compare them to anyone we have played so far this season. Their safeties are very fast and aggressive though and their defensive line and linebackers are solid. We will need to establish the run early and attack them to set up the pass for us.”

On the challenge you have face since changing offensive coordinators?
“As far as the scheme, it has not changed very much from what we did last season. The big adjustment has come in the terminology we use in the offense. I believe that we have gotten better at it as the season has gone along, so hopefully we continue to progress up until Friday night.”

Last week the game down to the two-minute drill, talk about the preparation the team has had up to that point with that:
“We practice the two-minute drill every week on Tuesday. Last week we came into that drive very confident and I made sure to remind them that we do this all the time. We just took what Northern Iowa gave us and made sure we kept getting out of bounds to stop the clock.”

Montana Head Coach Bobby Hauck
Opening Statement:

“Certainly we are pleased to be here.  It is great to be back in Chattanooga.  When you are here it means good things are happening in the football program. We have had the good fortune in the history of our program to be here many times.  Obviously we are hoping we can get our third national championship tomorrow.”

“The hospitality has been great and the people here have been awesome.  They have treated us very well and we are really excited to play.”

On the stonewall defense from Richmond:
“It’s hard to compare defenses and offenses when you haven’t played common opponents. JMU played them, but their offense is so much different from ours. They obviously have a good football team and they are well coached. They definitely know what they are doing on the defensive side of the ball.”

On the 41 turnovers created for Richmond D. similar with your created turnovers:
“Turnovers will have a direct outcome with who wins. Last week that happened against JMU.
Usually the team that creates turnovers generally end up with championships.”

On the 2004 team compared to this team:
“The two teams are similar in growing up during the season. The 2004 team got extremely hot especially on the offense near the end of the season.  That team was more explosive than this team. This team however is more well-rounded in the kicking game, defense and offense.”

On the high expectations last season and first round loss, then to this season and the adjustment made after the slow start:
“I think we just got better as a team. The team had a willingness to prepare. Our team was young and we just weren’t very good team in august but now we have a solid team.”

On the CAA compared to Big Sky:
“They are a very diverse league just like ours is. We play all types of different schemes in our league, just like the CAA.”

On the mental preparation for the game:
“If we use the practice we just had as an example then we are ready. We aren’t done preparing though until kickoff.  Our mantra is that we never stop preparing so we are still preparing for this game. We will keep watching film and getting ready.”

Rose Bowl or FCS Championship:
“This might not go over real well in this room, but I like bowl games better. The playoffs take a toll on our players physically and they have been a disaster academically as well for us in the past. It is just hard on the players. The Rose Bowl was pretty nice.”

On having Tennessee Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher around:
“We don’t talk football unless I ask. Jeff is a model parent to have around. We usually end up talking about the fishing report in Montana and not football.”

Cole Bergquist – Senior - QB
On playing against the Richmond defense:

“Anytime you go up against a defense like theirs, it is going to be a challenge. This is arguably the best defense we have faced all season but I believe we will be ready for the task ahead of us.”

After continuing to win through the playoffs and avenging your only loss of the season to Weber State, how easy has it been to forget those games and move on to the next game?
“I do not think it has too tough at all. One of our things has been to celebrate the night of the win and then come in on Sunday night and begin to watch film on our next opponent.”

On how have you seen the offense grow as the season has progressed:
“We have completely evolved from the 2004 team that won the NCAA Championship. We have become more balanced as a unit and I believe that is being displayed on the field.”

Tyler Corwin – Senior - LB
On the type of game you prefer to play:

“Personally, we prefer the physical game with a fullback and a running back going straight at you. That is definitely a challenge but it something that we really look forward to.”

After continuing to win through the playoffs and avenging your only loss of the season to Weber State, how easy has it been to forget those games and move on to the next game?
“We have a lot of tradition in our conference so during the season we go against teams that consider us the biggest game of the season. I believe that prepares us for the playoffs because we have to make sure we bring our best to every game.”

Colt Anderson – Senior - SS
On the type of game you prefer to play:

“We wear pads for a reason. This is a game we are looking forward to and we are ready for this type of opportunity.”

Mike Ferriter – Senior - WR
After continuing to win through the playoffs and avenging your only loss of the season to Weber State, how easy has it been to forget those games and move on to the next game?

“We have come a long way. One thing I believe we have done well is everyone knows their role. It took us five or six games but I really think we have found our identity has a unit.”