Concord won their Homecoming game this year, 52-34, which was cool. So, I figured Kellar would be in a good mood for our interview. I showed up to his office & he wasn't there. I was waiting around for him, walking around the ground floor of the athletic building, when I could hear some music in the distance. I got closer and realized it was a workout room for the athletes. Here's what they were listening to at they "pumped some iron." I was very amused:
So, that was fun to listen to for a while. Eventually, we ran into each other in the hall and went into a side room & did the interview. He was in pretty good spirits about the win and the Homecoming atmosphere ... except for one element, which you'll read below.
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Interview with Mike Kellar, Concord's football coach (10/19/09)
Chris Slater: You guys defeated Seton Hill this weekend in the Homecoming Game. What were your thoughts on that?
Mike Kellar: It was a good win for us. It was good to see all of the older alums here. It was good for them to get back here and see how far we’ve came and the efforts we’re trying to make. Seton Hill’s a playoff team from a year ago, they have a lot of returning starters. They’ve had a little bit of bad luck and their record doesn’t show that. I feel that we beat a quality football team.
CS: What were your thoughts on the Homecoming “atmosphere”?
MK: I thought it was great. The only thing was - the first half, the Homecoming atmosphere was phenomenal, but then halftime festivities came and a lot of students left after halftime. That was a little bit disheartening. I would have liked to see them stick around and see the conclusion of a good football game. A team that works very hard and tries to represent them well, we really need that home-field advantage to pull off those games late. One of the reasons we won the Lenoir-Rhyne game was our student body. If they would stick around for the whole game, we’d love it.
CS: I was reading that Brian Kennedy had a pretty good game. What are your thoughts?
MK: Brian’s had a good season for us. He’s had a couple really good games back-to-back. Our running game’s been key the last few weeks. Brian had - I think - 18 carries for 286 yards and Dennis Cole caught 15 carries for like 130 yards. Those guys have been a great 1-2 punch for us. I’d like to see them do it the rest of the way.
CS: How did the rest of the team do?
MK: Defensively, we did what we had to do. We gave them some plays when we could have got off the field on long yardage fourth-yard plays. Our defensive, they played the situation the right way. You know, when you’re up two or three scores late in the game, you make them use the clock and generally you win. You give up a lot of yards, but at the end of the day they made some big third-down stops and they’re able to… the score was really about 52-20, the last two touchdowns were really circumstance more than anything.
CS: How about your offense?
MK: We ran the ball really well, couldn’t be more proud of the offensive line - fullbacks, tight ends, wide receivers did a great job blocking. In the backs of course, we already talked about that with Brian and Dennis - they hit the holes and got in the open field and took it the rest of the way.
CS: You mentioned a couple weeks ago that a loss hurts until you win.
CS: This is your first victory after two losses…
MK: Yeah, it’s good to get a win, it’s good to get back on the winning track. The same thing, though, on Sunday and Monday if you’re trying to forget about the loss; on Sunday and Monday, you need to forget about the win. Right now, our focus and preparation needs to be on the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. That’s where we’re at right now.
CS: How’s the rest of the conference? Any movers & shakers, or is it still Charleston and West Liberty?
MK: Yeah, pretty much the same. Charleston and West Lib play this week, I believe, so when we have this next week, one of them will lose [laughs].
CS: You guys host UNC-Pembroke in the final home game of the season. What are your thoughts on that?
MK: Pembroke’s a good football team; ranked seventeenth in the country, number four in the Southeast Region of the United States, regional rankings. They handled us pretty well a year ago, I don’t remember the exact score. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re going to have to prepare well, get a great week’s worth of practice, film study, doing things the right way, then go out on Saturday and play hard.
CS: Who were some of your players of the game [red-shirt freshmen who participate in practices]?
MK: Offensive was Brian Kennedy. Defensive player of the game was Dan Stone and Thomas Hearons. Special teams player of the game was Justin McKissick. Scout team offensive was Keith Huff. Defensive was Hector Tanner. And, special teams was… ah hell, who was it? It’ll hit me here in a second… I don’t remember. I’ll go look it up and give it to you before you leave. It was a good player, who was it? It wasn’t Lawson… It was… I don’t remember. I’ll have to look it up, I have it in my notebook.
CS: That looks like about everything I have. Is there anything you’d like to add?
MK: It’s the last home game of the season - I’d like to see the student body get out there and root us on. We had a good atmosphere for the first half of the Homecoming game and if we can get them to come and stay the length of the game and cheer us on, and get our team riled up and kind of be that “twelfth man” for us, that would be awesome.
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The Special Teams scout player was Derick Hickman. Click here for more information about Brian Kennedy's good game that I asked Kellar about.
Kellar mentioned that UNC Pembroke was number 17 in the country. He was talking about the American Football Coaches Association Top 25 rankings. They're actually up to 15 now. Click here to see an article about it. Concord is mentioned in a very favorable light at the very end of the article. I was pleasantly surprised to read that.
If you're interested in the Charleston/West Liberty game that Kellar mentions, click here to see last week's interview. At the very end, I give a little more information about the game.
Comments and questions are welcomed. If you have any questions that you'd like me to ask Kellar in a future interview, leave them here.