Thursday, October 1, 2009

The dirt on the Danes with Kevin Richards

I caught up with senior center Kevin Richards on Thursday.

Richards, a Clifton Park native, was chosen as a second team All-Northeast Conference selection for the past two seasons and is the only starter from last season on the offensive line back in 2009.

First I want to say, hopefully, this blog entry doesn't cost Richards.

As Sports Information Director Brian DePasquale told me, the offensive line has this policy: if you get interviewed, you have to buy bagels for the rest of the lineman.

With that aside, here's what Kevin, who got married this past July, and I discussed on the upcoming game at Saint Francis on Saturday.

Talk about getting ready for another conference game.

KR: It might seem more meaningful, but we have to approach it just like it was a non-conference game because when we play our non-conference games, they say we're playing up. With the conference this year, there's a lot more parity. Saint Francis, on film, has looked so much better than they have in years past, so we really have to attack it the same way and I think we have so far.

This is your first 1 p.m. game of the year. How does that make preparation different?

KR: I think a lot of time with the night games and the 4 o'clock kickoffs, there's a lot of sitting around, just waiting to get to the field. Hopefully, we'll wake up at the same time and we'll just do everything a lot quicker. If anything, maybe that will get us going a little quicker, we've had some late starts the last couple games, so hopefully in the first half we'll get something going.

Does being on the road change anything?

KR: I think at this level it's really the team that matters. The home field advantage isn't necessarily anything. When people come out to our games, it's great. At the Maine game, we had 5,000 people there and that was a great day and something that I think contributed to the win. Coach Ford says all the time, we'll play anyone, anywhere, it doesn't really matter.

You're the elder statesman on this offensive line.

KR: Yeah (laughing). I'm pretty old. (Richards turns 23 on Oct. 29)

The offensive line lost a few guys from last year. How do you feel like the unit is coming along?

KR: I think it's come along well. We have a lot of young guys and a lot of first-year starters and only a couple guys last year had some playing time, but we all work together, it's one unit and we have to try to pick it up. We have some tight end help, Chris Kenneally is the senior on that side, so he helps those guys a lot and then we have (David) McCarty running behind us. That makes us look a lot better. The young guys realize that if they just play as hard as they possibly can, then he'll make them look good.

It's starting to get cold. Is there anything weather-wise that you'll do to prepare?

KR: Watching the film of us against Saint Francis from last year, it was a torrential downpour. It was like a monsoon out there. We'll play anywhere, any weather, it doesn't matter. Two years ago, we had an epic against Stony Brook, where there was lighting and it was a five-hour game, so that stuff doesn't really faze us.

Are you waiting for that big breakout running game?

KR: With these young guys, we're knocking on the door. It's going to come, it's just a matter of getting it. Now that we're in conference, it has to come sooner than later.

(UAlbany Athletics)
Here is another note from practice.
  • Coach Bob Ford said that sophomore guard Kyle O'Keefe is dealing with some shoulder issues and that they'd have a better idea of where he was at practice today

If you think the players are taking Saint Francis lightly (UAlbany has never lost in 10 meetings), they certainly aren't acting like it.

  • “They’re definitely a better team than they were last year,” said sophomore Eddie Delaney. “I think they’re average o-lineman has put on 15 pounds since last year.”
  • “They don’t look lost out there, they look in good shape, they look physical, they look like no Saint Francis team I’ve ever seen," senior Justin Brancaccio said. "They look like they’re up there with the top teams in our conference.”

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