Dec. 20, 2008

NCAA FCS National Championship Game
Postgame Press Conference
Dec. 19, 2008
Finley Stadium – Chattanooga, Tenn.

Richmond Head Coach Mike London
Opening Statement:
“I want to say thanks to everyone associated with the university - President Ayers, the athletic administration, fans, professors, coaches, and these players right here. I feel truly blessed to be addressing you guys. To have an opportunity to win in all in my rookie season I can’t tell you what it means to me. I just want to share this moment with these guys. This is something no one will ever be able to take away from us. We’ll think about significance down the way, but right now we are very proud.

This team has been through a lot this year, a lot. Some players have lost some loved ones, there have been tough times for us as a team. You saw today the character of this team, how resilient we are. This team loves each other, and this year this team is the team of destiny. I can’t even describe how these guys played like warriors.

Was there a point this season momentum turned UR way – I think it was the practices that proceeded JMU. Although the CAA championship was done, we could still make the playoffs and make it here. It showed they had character and are resilient. Eric had some great games. All the guys here made significant contributions. No one can ever take away.

What point decision to play Will Healy – There was a minute left. The “vice mayor of Chattanooga” to finish up the game in his home town on a good note.

Offensive effort – it was tremendous. These guys to my right (Eric Ward/Josh Vaughan) were key. They pushed the plays in the way we needed. Eric and Josh have both been there before. We had to win close games and blowout wins. It was they were in the forefront every time. Eric’s stats speak for themselves.

Watching film….liked matchups – I compared them to the Green Bay Packers. And when we got on the field, and all the build up at the hotel, it was something emotional it was something special that they could have been Goliath. We used our quickness to get around their size.

Getting players hyped – we play music at our practices. I thought at Northern Iowa we came out like robots. The one thing we could control was our mindset going into the game. We decided that we would go for broke and if they got us, they got us. We wanted the players to not to think that they could make a mistake.

spider walk – it is a tradition that we started back in Richmond. It helped but we started off this afternoon and it was our goal. To have fans, former players and administrators there to greet us it means something.

special run? – stayed with fans of Montana and they said that as soon as we beat Appalachian State they  booked flights and hotels cause they knew it was going to be an easy game. When you get turnovers, that is how you win games.  I am so proud how resilient these guys are.

On becoming the first African-American HC to win since 1978 – I want to be known as a football coach. I want to be judged as a coach. There is a pink elephant that says “oh by the way you’re African American. I am excited this is Richmond’s first national championship and let’s just leave it at that.”

Richmond Defensive End Lawrence Sidbury Jr.

Re: Defensive pressure all game?
We did nothing special. We just did what we are coached to do. We were able to get pressure on them. We looked at film and saw what we needed to do. We played hard.

Re: What did you see on film?
We saw they were a pretty big group. We just wanted to get pressure on the quarterback. We wanted to make our usual turnovers. We just wanted to do what we worked on in practice.

Richmond Tailback Josh Vaughan

Re: Breaking tackles?
It is just how it panned out. We always try to break one tackle. That’s what we are coached to do. We were hungry tonight.

Re: Performance tonight?
I wanted to leave it all out on the field with it being the last game of my career.

Richmond Quarterback Eric Ward

Re: Breaking tackles?
Hunger and it was a championship game. I just put head down and try to make some plays.

Richmond Linebacker Eric McBride

Re: Value of lead? Change in philosophy?
There is a saying that if you keep them off the scoreboard, they can’t win. We just tried to get our usual turnovers. If we get a lead we aren’t going to give it up. We have a bend but don’t break. We as a defense have each others’ backs. 

Re: Confidence from last week?
We just had great coaching and great game planning. They put us in the best possible position to win. The guys just wanted to execute. It was just a combination of both.

Re: Hit on Cole
I just went to hit him low. It must have been a good hit.

Richmond Fullback John Crone

Re: Trick play?
We had been practicing it all year and I began giggling when it was called, because I never thought we would run it. It happened in slow motion and when I saw him open I knew I had to hit him or I would never hear the end of it. Once I threw it I knew it would be a touchdown.

Montana Head Coach Bobby Hauck
Opening Statement:

“Congrats to Richmond and Coach London. It was a great win for them. They did a really nice job tonight, doing to us what we’ve been doing to people we’ve played lately. They gave a great effort. (Richmond) got out to a good start and held on. They played great defense and didn’t let us back in the game.
They executed well enough go to win a national championship.”

Re: Did to you what you have done to other people?
They pounded the rock and ran the ball effectively and we just couldn’t stop them and subsequently they were up 21-0 at half. After that their defense just didn’t let us into the end zone.

Re: Throwback pass?
It was real similar to what we did to Idaho State earlier in the year. We were playing man coverage and in that system no one was assigned to the quarterback.

Re: Journey from August until now?
It is hard now to discuss it. I’m so proud of this team. They have come a million miles since August and I’m so proud to be the coach.

Re: Richmond defensive line pressure?
We didn’t have a run game down 21-0. Chase (Reynolds) averaged four yards a carry, which is solid. They have good defensive ends. When it becomes a throw only game it is hard to protect at that point.

Re: Offensive line?
Those guys did a nice job despite some injuries.

Re: Cell (Backup QB) in game?
We wanted to change it up a bit. I just wanted to give Cole Bergquist a chance to settle down. After that Cole came back in and played well.

Re: Penalties?
They had three and we had five. It wasn’t like it was a penalty fest.

Montana Player Quotes

Cole Bergquist
About UR defensive line
- It didn’t surprise me they have a strong defensive front. It kinda took us out of our game plan. We had to throw the ball that much. They did a good job against me.

I’m not going to make any excuses. It’s a shame I was healthy all season and now in the championship game I get a contusion on the thigh.

How hurt were you?  - All I can say it took us out of our game plan. I wasn’t performing at my best. I’m not going to make any excuses. It’s a shame I was healthy all season and now in the championship game I get a contusion on the thigh.

Shawn Lebsock
About the game
- It seemed like a pride issue. It just wasn’t us in the first half, played better in the second half but not good enough to win.

About the run game - They were making plays in the first half and that is that. When we had opportunities to makes plays, they would break tackles and that is an attribute to them.

Colt Anderson
He was the fourth leading rusher in the nation and we knew that going in. He made plays that got by us.

End of the game – I think that this was the last time we would put on this jersey. We wanted to win the game and didn’t want to leave with a loss.

Mark Mariani
Kick return game
- We couldn’t get the kick return going in the game that we would have liked. I personally didn’t see it well. It was one of those days that they got plays going and that we couldn’t.

The one play – we did pretty much exactly what we thought they would do. It killed us to get no points out of that first drive. It doesn’t really matter about the individual stats when the clocked reached 0.

Craig Mettler
I would like to thank the fans and teammates. A lot of people didn’t expect us to get here. We came out in the second half with a lot of pride. Its kinda disappointing to end it like this, it is how it is and there isn’t anything we can do about it.