Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coach Kellar Q&A ... and a couple sports notes



For those who don't know, that is "Day 6" of John Meadow's video blog. He started doing this recently. I've checked a couple out; they're pretty cool.

John's a pretty cool guy. He interviewed me last semester for a class project he was doing about social media. He interviewed me because of the success of my blog and twitter and what not on Concord's campus.

Click here to see John on Twitter. Click here to see him on Facebook.

The reason this video is in my blog is because he talks about the sports section of The Concordian. John's on the Cross Country team, and if you look at around the 15-20 second point, you'll see him & his friends looking over the 10/21 issue of the paper.

He looks at all of the stories on the page and comments -

“We got football taking up the entire top half. We got something about somebody named Kennedy, I don’t even know who that is. Soccer. And, look, oh, here’s baseball. What’s this little article down in the corner? What is that?"


The "that" he is referring to is a very small press release about the Cross Country team. They sort of note the irony that the article states that the team "dominates," but it's such a small story at the bottom of the page. A couple of John's friends also point out that the Cross Country team has not lost to a conference opponent.

The football story that John was referring to was mine from last week. Click here to read it.

He didn't really say it, but he very heavily implied that he was not pleased with The Concordian's coverage of the Cross Country team; and the perceived "over coverage" of the football team.

To that, I will offer this: He has a point.

I've mentioned this in a past blog, but I'll re-state it here - I have no say in anything regarding The Concordian. I have no "real" power. The "Senior Staff Writer" title just means that I used to be Editor-in-Chief and now I'm a staff writer.

I'm assigned to write about the football team each week. I interview the coach and do my story. That's the extent of my power with the sports page.

I don't want to complain about the sports page. I know the Sports Editor is new to this. Most of the staff is new to this. The paper is still very much a "work in progress." The problem with that, though, is that The Concordian is a product. We can't be a "work in progress" for too long, because students see the paper every week. Despite being a one-hour workshop (a college class), we produce a product. And, that product is seen by a lot of people and they expect a certain quality out of a product they're paying money for (each Concord student pays roughly $4 towards printing the newspaper).

The staff as a whole discussed our issues with the Sports section at the most recent meeting. It was brought up at the meeting, and I've blogged about this several times in the past, that the Sports section has the potential to be one of the most popular sections in the entire newspaper. It's just not reaching its potential right now.

The positive thing is that people are at least talking about the paper. Hopefully we can create a better product for the students. There are only two football games left, so we'll have to cover something else, and I'll have to start writing about something else.

If anybody reading this wants to leave any comments on what they think is wrong with the paper, or ways you feel that we can improve, feel free to leave them. There is an anonymous comment option on here & I don't mind if you use it. I don't need to know who you are - just tell me what you like or don't like about the paper.

* * *

The football team lost its final home game of the season. Coach Kellar wasn't excited about that, but from the interview I could tell that he is very proud of the team and the turnaround they've had this season. They've gone from zero wins last year to 5-4 this year, with two games left.

For those curious, I did bring up the "Letter to the Editor" that accused of Coach Kellar of disrespecting the band students. You can read his response below. It's interesting, to say the least.

For long-time readers of my "Kellar Q&A" series, the biggest news to come out of this interview is that Charleston and West Liberty finally played each other. So, there is now officially a #1 team in the conference. Charleston beat Concord earlier in the season, and Concord closes out the season against West Liberty.

Interview is below.

* * *

Interview with Mike Kellar, Concord's football coach (10/26/09)

Chris Slater: The team lost to UNC-Pembroke, 27-9. What happened?

Mike Kellar: Pembroke came out, and they’re a very physical football team. They tried to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They ran the ball real well, ran up the “time-of-possession.” We didn’t have quite enough fire power on offense to combat some of the things they were doing to us. You know, it’s one of those games where they got out to a 14-2 lead. Defense made some stops, but they were picking up the first downs. It took the defense a while to get back in and we finally did get back on track. Basically, time ran out on us.

CS: What did the team do right in the game?

MK: Special teams wise, we were very good in the kicking game, with the punt and the field goal teams. Defensively, we seemed to stiffen as they drove the ball on us. We made some big stops. Offensively, we weren’t dynamic enough in the passing game to combat the way they were playing us. They were trying to take away our run and one-on-one plays outside and for whatever reason, we didn’t make the plays.

CS: You guys have a 4-2 home record. How important is that to you?

MK: Well, it’s very important to protect our home field. It’s something we talked about openly during camp that we wanted to win all our home games. That way, when people came to our place, we wanted them to “feel” Concord football. So, to go 4-2 at home, when you’re coming off a season where we didn’t win any games previously, is something we can build upon here for the future.

CS: Overall, you have a 5-4 record. Coming in, did you expect to go that far?

MK: You know, we did. As coaches, you’re smart enough to understand that this team isn’t going to get turned around overnight. But, at the same time, if you don’t set an expectation level for your team, your staff, and for yourself, then how do you expect to reach goals? We went into the season thinking, “Let’s not put a number on the wins and losses. Let’s try to go out and get better each day and let the wins pile up as they may.”

CS: How has the community reacted to this?

MK: Oh, they’ve been very supportive. I couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve gotten from the community and how happy they seem to be with the turnaround. Everywhere I go, every time I go shopping, or go out to eat with my wife, someone stops by and says, “Hey, you and your staff is doing a good job, we appreciate it.” You know, I couldn’t be happier with it, the community support.

CS: How’s the conference looking? Did Charleston and West Liberty finally meet?

MK: They finally played. West Liberty beat Charleston in overtime. Double overtime.

CS: Nice.

MK: Yeah. So, West Liberty is the team to beat in the conference championship. They’ve got Seton Hill this week and they play us a week from now. If they win out, they’re conference champs. If they don’t, then they would share the conference with Charleston.

CS: Concord currently has a 3-3 conference record. How’s that looking for us?

MK: Well, we currently have two conference games left. We’ll try to win them both and have a winning record. Our main goal is to have a winning record, overall. Our second goal is to have a winning conference record, at this point.

CS: I don’t know if you’ve seen the last week’s issue of The Concordian. There’s a Letter to the Editor…

MK: Mmmhmmm

CS: …about the music department thing. He brought up the two instances where he felt that you disrespected the team - where you had the football team leave during the pep rally while they were still playing, and then he said you “called them out” somehow during the bonfire…

MK: Yeah, I really don’t want to comment on that. I didn’t do that. I mean, it wasn’t… Basically, I don’t remember doing either one of those things. Not that I remember. If he took it that way, I didn’t mean for it to be that way.

CS: I was at the pep rally. I remember they were still playing after you were done. I don’t know…

MK: Yeah, I stayed until the fire was out. I don’t even know what they were talking about [laughs]. But, I didn’t read it, I heard about it and I didn’t pay it any attention. I didn’t feel like, I mean, I know we didn’t. If we did, we sure didn’t mean it on purpose.

CS: This Saturday, you guys take on Fairmont State. What are your thoughts on that?

MK: It’s a big game, it’s a conference game on the road. We haven’t had a… Who was our road victory? Have we won on the road this year? We’re 4-2 at home. Oh, we haven’t had a conference victory on the road yet. We beat Virginia, Southern Virginia.

CS: Yeah.

MK: It’s a conference road game, with our chance to get our first victory in conference play on the road. We’re facing a solid Fairmont team. Their record isn’t as good as their talent level is. They’ve won their last two, and hopefully we stop that for them. We’re just going to go out and play well to give ourselves a chance to win a football game.

CS: Who were your players of the game?

MK: On defense, it was… hold on here… Offense was, uh, Bryan Roof; B-R-Y-A-N R-O-O-F. Defense was Kevin Elliot. And, special teams was Brian Kennedy.

CS: Okay. How about the scouts [red-shirt freshmen who participate in practices]?

MK: Scout player of the week, on offense, was CJ Tullio; T-U-L-L-I-O. Defense was… Who was Defense? Colby Alexander. Uh, special teams was… I don’t know special team’s. I’ll get it to you.

CS: We always have problems with the special teams [laughs].

MK: [laughs]. Yeah, we go through it so fast on Monday morning.

CS: That looks like everything I have. Is there anything you’d like to add?

MK: We’ve got a couple big games left. We’re on the road. We’re gonna have to go on the road and play both games. Hopefully we keep improving and end the season the right way.


* * *

Nikko Johnson was the Special Teams scout player of the week.

Click here to see the Letter to the Editor I was referencing. The only thing I'll mention about that is that when I'm making reference to being at the pep rally, I'm actually referencing the one from earlier this semester. Kellar cut me off and thought I was talking about the bonfire from Homecoming Week.

Click here to see pictures from that pep rally (and a story from the first-ever interview I had with Kellar). I'll leave a comment on that, since I was there. Here's how it was set up - the band played, the cheerleaders did a presentation, the football team was introduced, the coach & a couple players talked about the upcoming game, the band started playing again, and the football team left.

To me, it looks like there was a communication breakdown. I can't speak for Kellar, but it looks like he thought the pep rally was over. They talked about the game, and they were "played off." I remember hearing some band members openly saying, "But, we're not done yet," as the team was leaving. I guess they had a couple tunes left and nobody told Kellar. The team left, the band played a couple more songs, the cheerleaders did a couple routines, and the event was over.

Regarding the incident during Homecoming Week, I can't comment on it. I wasn't there.

* * *

So, there's that. Click here to read last week's Q&A with Kellar if you haven't yet. And if you're bored, click here to check out a cool music blog I did. It's part 2 of what I'm making a series.

There's only two games left this season. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask Kellar, feel free to do so. I've had fun doing this - interviewing him for the newspaper and asking a couple "blog-only" questions for here. To whore my blog out, the extra questions give people a reason to read it. If you'd like me to ask something, feel free to let me know. Pat Keys, my former roommate, has been begging me to ask a certain question for several weeks now. I think I'll break that one out for our last interview.

If you have any comments about anything else, the interview itself, or the comments about John's YouTube video, or complaints/suggestions about The Concordian, leave those as well. It's cool. To quote John Walsh - "You can remain anonymous."

6 comments:

  1. I like Concord's chances against Fairmont State, probably by two touchdowns. Hopefully, Hearons (QB) plays better but I'm pretty sure Fairmont's defense isn't as good as Pembroke's was. It looks like the Mountain Lions will finish up 6-5 with a win this Saturday and a loss next week against West Lib.

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  2. Interesting prediction. From this point, no matter how they finish the season, Concord would definitely win the "Most Improved" award for the WVIAC conference. The turnaround the team has had under Kellar has been incredible.

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  3. I'm going to put this link in my "SGA blog" for this week & maybe share a couple thoughts, but I wanted to share the link here first. I think Concord students need to read it, and I won't likely do the "sga blog" for another two days or so. It's SGA President Jeff Yeager's latest blog, giving some sga-related updates -

    http://presidentyeager.blogspot.com/2009/10/students-of-concord-i-hope-your.html

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  4. Chris,

    Thank you for asking Coach Keller about the disrespect issue with the band. I understand that Coach Keller didn't mean to disrespect us, and I'm not the only one who thought that. I learned in the Army that there's a huge difference between impact and intent. He didn't intend it, but that was the impact that it had on us.

    Anyway, I'm not going to beat a dead horse. I feel that I've made my point on this and hopefully, we can put this to rest now. I know I've accomplished what I set out to do because I've heard of some instances where fellow band members have gotten apologies from some student athletes about respect.

    Like I said, I'm proud to be here at Concord and I sincerely hope that the CU football team does well for the rest of the season. I know it's been a while since we've had a winning record and I know we're so close we can taste it.

    Let's go CU!

    Thomas Hilliker

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  5. Thomas,

    Thank you for reading. I don't know if his answer satisfied you, but I'm very glad that you brought up this issue in the newspaper.

    Hopefully your letter will prompt other people with issues to use the newspaper as their forum to get their issues out to the student body.

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  6. Here's the story that I wrote from this interview. It's in this week's edition of The Concordian -

    http://tinyurl.com/yhffs7h

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