Yes, I spelled Coach Kellar's name correctly in The Concordian this week. We joked about it a little bit before the interview. He put my cell phone number into his phone and was typing my name in. He said, "S - L - A - T - E - R" as he was typing and I said, "You spelled my name right, I'll make sure to spell yours right."
Click here to see last week's interview with Coach Kellar. In that interview, he talks about the upcoming game with West Virginia State. Below, you'll get some of Kellar's thoughts about the victory over West Virginia State. And, some other stuff.
I mentioned in the last interview blog that I was still getting lost on my way to Kellar's office. Well, this time I found his office on the first try. But, as I was leaving, I thought I knew where I was going, but I wound up on the other side of the building as I exited. So, I'm still working all that out. Give me a couple more weeks and I'll know my way around that building.
Interview is below. Any comments or questions that arise during the interview, feel free to leave them. If you have any questions that you'd like me to ask Coach Kellar next week, let me know.
The next game is this Saturday, at Concord, against Shepherd. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.
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Interview with Mike Kellar, Concord University's football coach (9/28/09)
Chris Slater: You guys defeated West Virginia State for the first time since 2005. How do you rate that victory.
Mike Kellar: Well, it was a good victory for us. We beat a team that beat us a season ago 41-7, and came off a 7-3 season. They had most of their starting offensive and defensive backs from a year ago. It shows that we’ve made an improvement in our program. It was a good win and it’s nice to go 4-1. It’s nice to protect our home-field advantage. We’re 3-0 at home right now, which is an important thing for us. You know, we’re trying to win them all at home. So, it was a good win.
CS: How do you feel about the weather? How do you feel about playing in the rain?
MK: I’d rather not play in the rain. Both teams have to play in it. I told my team, you just deal with it. There’s nothing you can do; you can’t make it stop raining. They won’t cancel the game, so you’d better find a way. It changes play calling a little bit. You have to be smart and realize what you can and can’t do in the rain. The kicking game was strong all night in the rain. Our defense obviously played quite well in the rain. Offensively, we were able to run the ball and do enough in the rain. We were still able to throw a few touchdown passes.
CS: What’s your ideal football weather?
MK: I don’t know if I really have an ideal. I know the players, most football players like it a little cool. Without rain, that’s the ideal situation. Players hate heat, but coaches - I like heat. You know, my bones are old. [laughs]
CS: Was the team extra motivated to bounce back from last week’s loss?
MK: I think so. I think they were embarrassed by last week’s loss. I think they were embarrassed by the way they played against Charleston. They wanted to come out and prove to themselves that Charleston was an aberration - it wasn’t normal for us. They came out a little bit fired up, with something to prove and played well.
CS: Shepherd defeated Concord 55-7 last year. What are your thoughts heading into this week’s game?
MK: Well, I hope it’s not that. I think Shepherd’s a good football team. They go out there and they’ve consistently, for the last five years, been the most consistent program in our league. They’ve won the league [championship] four straight years before last season. They’ve been a playoff team. They’re the perennial powerhouse of the league. They’re what we’re looking to be. We want people to look at us four years down the road and say that Concord is what Shepherd was. It’s a true test. A very well-coached football team, a very well-disciplined football team. They play smart, they play together. They’re exactly what we want to be, what we’re striving to be.
CS: You and Shepherd are both tied for third in the WVIAC. Did you think Concord would be this high this soon into the season?
MK: You know, I guess if you had told me in January that we would be 4-1, I would have been pretty happy with you. As the season has unfolded, looking back, I do think we should be about 4-1. Really, we’ve outplayed three teams so far, won a toss-up game against Lenoir-Rhyne, and got beat by Charleston. I mean, we’re exactly where we should be right now. We’re not as good as Charleston quite yet, plus Lenoir-Rhyne played well in that toss-up game, and we beat the three teams. We’re on schedule. We’re right where we need to be - not looking at the standings, we don’t worry about any of that. We just want to go out and play well against Shepherd. We want to do the things that matter for our team.
CS: What are some areas you guys are doing well in and what are some areas you could improve?
MK: Our kicking game was strong the last couple weeks. Our punts have been very good. Our returns are solid. We’re making our field goals and extra points, for the most part. Right now, I’m very proud of our kicking game. I would like to be more consistent on defense. One week we’re awful and the next week we’re great. I would just like for us to be a consistent defense, something that the team can rely on. I think we need to improve offensively. Right now, the last two games we turned the ball over and made penalties and that’s something that we don’t do. The teams that I’ve coached generally don’t do that, not even the bad teams do that. There’s no excuse for that. I promised the team that I’d coach them better and I promise you they’re gonna play better.
CS: How are the other teams in the conference looking this week? Is Charleston still the team to beat?
MK: Yeah, I think Charleston and West Liberty are the two teams to beat right now, it looks like. I don’t suppose you can ever count Glenville out. I would say those are the upper class of the league. And then Shepherd’s right there. Hell, they played Charleston straight up. It was a 30-17 ballgame. West Liberty cruises each week. Charleston cruises each week. And, then there’s a bunch of us in the middle, fighting it out. Fairmont, Wesleyan, Shepherd - to an extent - you know, we’re all right there, just beating each other up.
CS: What are your thoughts on the community involvement with Concord? I know the Deli Mart gas station puts stuff up on their sign…
MK: I love it. I would love to see the people of Athens take pride in the university. I want them - you know, I hope that when they go on vacation in the summers to different places and when people say “where are you from?”, they tell them “I’m from Athens” and those people say, “Oh, that’s where Concord plays. They’ve got a good football team.” I think civic pride is a big responsibility as an institution and as a football team. It’s what we talk about, but we probably don’t do enough of. I’m glad that they’re excited and I’m glad that they’re coming to the games and that people around town have a sense of pride.
CS: Who were your offensive, defensive, and special teams players of the game?
MK: Offensive player of the game was Brian Kennedy. Defensive player of the game was Duke Adieu. He was also Conference Player of the Week. Special teams player of the game was Brad Cox, the punter. Scout team offensive player of the week was Dylan Simmons. Defensive scout of the week - and our special teams scout of the week - was Nick Spradling.